Israel wary of change in Rafah crossing's status - Israel News, Ynetnews
 
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An open Rafah crossing Photo: AFP
An open Rafah crossing Photo: AFP
 
Heavy repercussions. Rafah border Photo: AP
Heavy repercussions. Rafah border Photo: AP
 
 

Israel wary of change in Rafah crossing's status

Security official claims that while Israel cannot afford reopening of border crossing between Gaza, Egypt, all indications point to no change in near future

Hanan Greenberg
Published: 05.01.11, 13:50 / Israel News

Officials in the security establishment estimated that despite the recent voices in Cairo, calling to reopen the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, the border passage will remain closed.

 

"As of now, it seems that there are no changes being made at the border," a security official told Ynet Sunday.

 

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Any such change at the Rafah crossing may have heavy repercussions on the balance of power in the Strip. Accordingly, Israel is closely following the developments in the area.

 

"Based on recent conversations, it seems the crossing will remain shut for the time being, with no intentions to open it," the source said.

 

Egypt closed the Rafah crossing following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, and it has remained shut accept for short intervals, humanitarian emergencies or high ranking officials with special permits.

 

This has prevented Iranian and other elements from entering the Gaza Strip and transferring information to the Hamas and other terrorist groups, which would increase their offensive capabilities tenfold.

 

The security official noted that opening the Rafah crossing for free passage is something Israel cannot afford. "Israel is not intervening, and is not applying pressure through Egyptian elements, but we are certainly monitoring the situation," he said.

 

Though the crossing has been closed for over three years, security sources believe terrorists find alternative ways to travel in and out of the Strip. "Just as hundreds of rockets were smuggled through a system of underground tunnels in the south of the Strip last year, terror elements also manage to circumvent the border crossing.

 

"However there is a difference between these attempts, that are sometimes thwarted, and an official border crossing that will exacerbate this worrying phenomenon," the source added.

 

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