CAIRO: Egypt has started sealing some of the breaches in the border with Gaza with the aid of Hamas, sources in the area told Daily News Egypt.
“Hamas are now helping in resealing the border. They are not calling it coordination because Egypt doesn’t officially recognize Hamas, but it is seen as more of voluntary action by Hamas, local coordinator for Palestinian affairs Abdel-Sattar El-Ghalban told Daily News Egypt.
Egyptian forces began stringing barbed wire across the Brazil gate in Rafah with the aid of around a dozen uniformed Hamas soldiers indicating that there was now cooperation between the two sides in sealing off the border.
Mostly bearded and dressed in blue camouflage uniforms, the Hamas soldiers were also helping Egyptian forces police the border.
Palestinians still descended upon Rafah through the many other breaches in the security wall, but the numbers have begun to decrease as goods are no longer being allowed in the area to cater to Palestinian demand.
“Security forces have started closing the border, but the Palestinians are still coming in though in lesser numbers because there are no more goods and all the shops are closed, El-Ghalban said.
Supply trucks were held at the Mubarak Peace Bridge leading into the border which meant that traders could not replenish stocks. For the first time since Hamas insurgents blew holes through the border to allow the Palestinians into Rafah, more Palestinians were leaving rather than entering.
Additionally, the scarcity of goods pushed up the prices of what little was available.
Previous Egyptian attempts to seal the breaches had been met with gunfire from Hamas which left 38 soldiers wounded, an act El-Ghalban strongly condemned.
“We are very concerned about what happened, he said, “Egypt’s security matters to us, and their army is our army. We condemn what happened and the security of Egypt’s border is important to both Hamas and Fatah.
El-Ghalban also pointed out that other Arab nations should get involved in solving the issue, and that Egypt should not bear the brunt of responsibility for the situation.
He said, “The Arabs should be more involved in helping their Palestinian brothers. Egypt should not bear the political and economic weight on its own and it should not be held solely responsible in the media.
In Cairo, a meeting was held between Hamas and Fatah officials to attempt to reach some sort of agreement that would bring an end to the border disruption.
“We hope pressure is put on both Hamas and Fatah to reach an agreement for the benefit of the Palestinian people, El-Ghalban said.
Gaza was under a total Israeli blockade which pushed people to protest at the Egyptian border and eventually push through the wall.
As an aside, Egyptian football star Mohammed Abou Treika was reprimanded by the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for lifting his Egypt shirt to reveal a t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Sympathize with Gaza after scoring against Sudan in the African Cup of Nations tournament in Ghana.
Football governing bodies prohibit the showing of any messages on undershirts, whether political or otherwise. Furthermore, footballers are yellow carded for lifting their shirts in celebration even if there is no message underneath. Abou Treika was booked for his action and was sent a letter of warning by CAF.