Press statement by President von der Leyen at El Arish Airport, Egypt
November 21, 2023
“Governor, thank you very much for hosting me here in El Arish. I am very grateful to President El-Sisi for having invited me to come to Egypt and witness the humanitarian aid operations unfolding here in El Arish and at the Rafah border crossing. Above all, I want to thank the Egyptian authorities – you personally, Governor – for ensuring humanitarian access to and from Gaza via Rafah, and for quickly setting up the El Arish hub to stockpile vital supplies. Egypt is truly providing a lifeline to Gaza. And the European Union is making full use of this lifeline to address the humanitarian needs in Gaza.
Indeed, we are the largest donor to the Palestinian people, and one of the main and most reliable donors to UNRWA. Over the last month, we have quadrupled our humanitarian aid to over EUR 100 million. And in addition, our Member States have provided EUR 260 million. We have organised a Humanitarian Air Bridge operation. It is bringing vital supplies to El Arish for the people of Gaza. We have today completed 15 flights so far. And we are organising more and more flights every day.
None of this would be possible without the excellent and close coordination with the Egyptian authorities, UNWRA and the Egyptian Red Crescent. This is why we have established a coordination cell with the International Federation of the Red Crescent and the Red Cross. And I am happy to be able to hand over to the Egyptian Red Crescent the most recent aid donated by the European Union.