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Home Archive 16/November/2017 09:49 AM

Delay in opening Rafah crossing was due to internal Egyptian reasons - official


RAMALLAH, November 16, 2017 (WAFA) – Member of Fatah Central Committee Azzam al-Ahmad said on Wednesday that postponement of the opening of Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was due to internal Egyptian reasons, noting that the Palestinian are ready to open the crossing at any time.

According to the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, which was signed in Cairo in October, the Rafah crossing, which is closed most of time except for few days every three or four months, was supposed to officially open on November 15.

However, Ahmad said that while the reconciliation agreement discussed opening of Karm Abu Salem/Kerem Shalom and Beit Hanoun/Erez border crossings between Gaza and Israel, reopening of the Rafah border crossing was delayed until after all measures between the Palestinians and Egypt are completed.

He said that Hamas did not object, “not with a single word,” to the Movement and Access agreement signed in 2005 after Israel pulled out its forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip and which stipulated the presence of a European Union monitoring crew at the crossing, expressing surprise at a recent statement by some factions in Gaza opposed to the 2005 agreement that could delay the reopening of the border crossing.

He said that Egypt has the right to take into consideration the security situation in the Sinai, which recently witnessed a number of attacks by terrorist groups against Egyptian forces, before deciding on opening of the Rafah crossing.

The Fatah official, who is also in charge of the reconciliation talks, said a dialogue was held over the past two days with the Egyptians to set another date for the reopening of the crossing, stressing that “Egypt is willing to do all that is necessary to help us ease the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip, and we have agreed on that.”

Ahmad said: “We say to some factions, including Hamas, stop exploiting the suffering of our people in the Gaza Strip and distorting the facts. The Rafah crossing has been closed for more than 10 years and the few times it was opened were done for humanitarian reasons at the initiative of Egypt and were done in full coordination with President Abu Mazen (Abbas). Now there is a better chance than before (to reopen the crossing) that require our support rather than manipulate the situation for political squabble at the expense of the suffering of our people.”


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