Rafah crossing set for three day opening

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt will open today and remain open for three days as part of a ceasefire deal between Hamas and Israel.

Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha told reporters in Gaza Thursday that those seeking treatment would be allowed to enter Egypt today. Starting Sunday Palestinians with foreign passports will be allowed to leave the strip via Rafah.

European Union monitors will be present at the crossing to oversee proceedings, Reuters reported.

The Rafah border crossing has only opened intermittently since Hamas blew holes in the border gate last January to allow hundreds of thousands of besieged Gazans to enter Egypt.

Since then, the crossing has only been opened to allow Gazans wounded from Israeli strikes or Hamas officials heading to Cairo to meet their Egyptian counterparts to discuss the ceasefire.

One of the conditions of the proposed ceasefire is for the Rafah crossing to be reopened under the control of the Presidential Guard of Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Egypt’s mediation plan consists of Hamas ending rocket fire into Southern Israel, with Israel reciprocating in Gaza, accompanied by a prisoner exchange of 400 Palestinian prisoners for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel.

Previously there had been tension between Egypt and Hamas over comments made regarding the truce.

Aboul Gheit had said while in Washington, where he announced the tenets of the agreement, “I think over time, Hamas will have to change because by not changing they are damaging prospects for Palestinian peace.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahra said that Aboul Gheit’s statements indicated that he did not recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, which “won a free and fair election witnessed by the world .

Despite previous comments by Hamas officials denigrating Egyptian comments about the group as well as threats of further border breaches, a member of the organization, which rules Gaza, stated Sunday that Hamas had no intention of threatening Egyptian national security.

“Egyptian national security and Arab security are both red lines that Hamas cannot cross, said Mohammed Nasser, a member of the Hamas politburo, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Palestinian factions “carry out resistance work without harming Egypt s national security, Nasser added.

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