In a significant development, the evacuation of more than 300 Americans, accompanied by over 100 British nationals and their families, from the Gaza Strip has been carried out, as confirmed by officials on Sunday. This remarkable effort, executed in recent days, resulted from extensive and intricate negotiations involving all parties directly related to the ongoing conflict, according to White House Deputy National Security Adviser Jonathan Finer, who provided insights during an interview with CBS News.
Despite the substantial progress, the United States remains cognizant of the presence of “a number” of American citizens still situated within Gaza, as acknowledged by Finer. He underscored the top priority attached to this issue and affirmed the commitment to continue working diligently until every American desiring to depart has the opportunity to do so.
The opening of the Rafah border crossing, facilitating passage from Gaza to Egypt, occurred on Wednesday after weeks of unrest. This development allowed a limited number of wounded Palestinians and individuals with dual nationality to exit the region, each harboring a fervent desire to escape the intense bombardment by Israeli forces.
Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden expressed optimism regarding the prospect of additional UK nationals departing Gaza. He called for the swift reopening of the Rafah crossing, which connects Gaza with Egypt, as it had temporarily closed. Dowden conveyed his expectations during an interview with the BBC, disclosing that more than 100 UK nationals had successfully crossed into Egypt from Gaza through the Rafah crossing. He expressed disappointment over the temporary closure of the crossing and underlined the hope that it would be accessible once again, allowing further UK nationals to depart.
The United Kingdom has advocated for humanitarian pauses in Israel’s military operations in Gaza, although it has not explicitly called for a comprehensive ceasefire.
Addressing comments made by the UK’s Interior Minister Suella Braverman, who characterized pro-Palestinian protests in London as “hate marches,” Dowden acknowledged that some of the slogans chanted during these demonstrations contained elements of hate, particularly those that could be interpreted as challenging Israel’s right to exist. He encouraged participants in such events to critically evaluate their alignment with those promoting hate.
Furthermore, Dowden expressed “grave concerns” about the potential for additional marches scheduled for the upcoming weekend, coinciding with commemorations for Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I. These concerns stem from the possibility of the events overlapping with the Armistice Day commemorations.