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Middle East peace ever elusive as bleak scenario looms for Rafah

News Report by Islam Abdulfattah

CAIRO, Feb 12 (KUNA) -- Bleak and catastrophic scenarios loom on the horizon due to threats by the Israeli occupation government to invade the city of Rafah in South Gaza amid Egypt's rejection of such an offensive and Arab and international warnings of the dire prospects.
The city, four months after start of the flagrant Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip, has turned into a huge shelter for more than 1.4 million Palestinians who had been forced to relocate from other regions of the enclave during wide-scale Israeli offensives.
Given the high density of civilians' presence in Rafah, the prospected Israeli aggression will certainly result in heavy casualties among the displaced, living in squalid conditions and struggling every day to get food and clean water.
Egypt has categorically rejected threats by the occupation government to carry out a military operation in Rafah, warning that Tel Aviv remained adamant on liquidating the Palestinian cause and forcing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians out of their homeland, noting that such an intransigent approach breach international laws and relevant UN resolutions.
Egyptian media outlets have revealed that the Egyptian Army has beefed up military deployment on the borders, adjacent to Rafah, in anticipation of a possible dangerous move by Tel Aviv, forcing the relocated Palestinians to flee across the borders into Sinai.
Dr. Khaled Akasha, the Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies, said in an interview with Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) that the prospected Israeli aggression on Rafah would be tantamount to an incursion on the zone, safeguarded by the peace treaty between Cairo and Tel Aviv, "thus there will revision of the peace accord." Dr. Akasha said presence of more than one million Palestinian on the borders is disturbing not only for Egypt but also for the international community, noting that the United States of America, the European Union, the United Nations and regional states had also condemned the Israeli plan to expand the military operations to Rafah.
Despite the strong looming hazards, Dr. Akasha expressed his belief that the Palestinians stranded in Rafah would not quit their land and flee to Sinai despite the dangers on their lives, and noted that the Egyptian military reinforcements on the border constituted a regular measure amid Cairo's concerns that Israel might make badly calculated moves.
The Egyptian authorities at the highest levels are ready to cope with various scenarios and repercussions, "and we will deal decisively vis a vis any violation of the laws," he stressed.
The occupation government is trying to evade its internal dilemma due to the lack of a real victory in Gaza after four months of starting the operations in the region, he said.
The former assistant foreign minister, Ambassador Hussein Huweidi, branded in remarks to the Kuwaiti news agency the Israeli threats as catastrophic and expressed his belief that Tel Aviv would press ahead with its schemes to drive the Palestinians out of their homes.
One of the messages behind the Israeli aggression on Gaza is addressed to the Palestinian youth; that they have no future neither in Gaza nor in the West Bank," said Huweidi, also noting in this respect that the Israelis have illicit plans to minimize number of the Palestinians while maximizing the number of the Jews.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jamal Salameh, a professor of political sciences at Suez University, called for a serious stance by the US, the EU and Egypt to stem the aggressive drive by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty "will be gone with the winds," if Israel translates its threats to invade Rafah, he added, warning of a recurrence of the 1948 "nakba." Egypt and Israel became at peace after signing the Camp David Accords, a pair of political agreements inked by the late Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and the deceased Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin on September 17, 1978, following twelve days of secret negotiations at Camp David, the US.
Egypt was the first Arab state to work out a peace deal with Israel -- followed later by Jordan. (end) asm.rk