Israel has asked the United States' approval to recapture the Rafah crossing on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, European sources told London-based Arabic newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi.
The paper reported Saturday that Israel has sent letters to Washington and to the EU's headquarters in Brussels protesting Egypt's decision to allow hundreds of Palestinian pilgrims to return to the Gaza Strip last Wednesday, without being subjected to security checks by the Israeli army.
Pilgrims going through Rafah crossing (Photo: AFP)
In the letter, Israel demanded that the current status quo on the Gaza-Egypt border be changed, and that Israel would be allowed to set up a military base in the area. Israel also demanded that control over the Rafah crossing would be placed in the hands of international monitors.
Egypt enabled hundreds of Palestinians to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing this week, despite an earlier understanding with Israel that the pilgrims would enter through the Kerem Shalom crossing, and undergo security checks by the IDF.
Israel's insistence stemmed from concerns that some of the Palestinians returning from Saudi Arabia might be senior terror operatives, or Hamas officials attempting to smuggle large sums of money into the Strip.