Egypt re-opens Rafah crossing

Date published: 27th June 2009
Source: Al-Jazeera English
Egypt re-opens Rafah crossing

The crossing was to remain open for three days [AFP]

Egypt has re-opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza for three days to allow Gazan patients, students and visa-holders to leave the besieged Hamas-ruled Strip, an Egyptian official at the crossing has said.

Israel has sealed Gaza off from all but vital humanitarian aid and has strictly limited movement into and out of the territory since Hamas movement seized power in June 2007.

Egypt has occasionally opened the Rafah crossing – the only Gaza crossing that bypasses Israel – to allow aid in and students and medical cases out.

In a surprise visit to the crossing, Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader, said he hoped to see its “complete” re-opening.

“We are prepared and ready [to operate the crossing] according to arrangements undertaken with our Egyptian brothers, the Europeans, the presidential guard [of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president] and the [Hamas-run] government.”

Egypt has consistently rejected pressure to open its border with the Gaza Strip permanently, insisting it can only do so when the Abbas’ authority has been restored.

An international agreement signed by Israel and Abbas’ Palestinian Authority in 2005 provided for EU monitoring of all traffic across the border and the installation of Israeli security cameras.

But Hamas has rejected any Israeli presence at the crossing.

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