A war of words has broken out between Egypt and Hamas, just four days after the former opened up Rafah
crossing between Gaza and Sinai.
The Palestinian Ma'an news agency reported late Tuesday that each of the sides is accusing the other of failing to provide a system that would allow Palestinian residents of Gaza to cross the border.
Waiting to cross at Rafah (Photo: AP)
Hamas says Egypt only allowed people to cross on Saturday, when the crossing first opened, and Gaza's leaders consider this a failure on the state's part to carry out its obligations. They also accuse border guards of arbitrarily barring Gazans from crossing.
But senior security officials in Egypt told Ma'an their state has fostered "unprecedented easements for Palestinian brothers" and that it has "stood up to Israel in order to open the Rafah crossing for good".
An unnamed source told the agency that certain Palestinians had been barred from entering Egypt due to "security concerns", implying they are on a terror watch list or have been linked to illegal smuggling tunnels.
Ma'an says the list of barred persons contains around 5,000 names, and that Egypt and Gaza's rulers will meet soon to discuss its impact. The news agency adds that the crossing is currently not working to full potential due to a lack of security equipment.
The two sides have already held a meeting in order to discuss the open crossing's effect. Reports say they decided to allow just 400 people to cross a day, the names of whom must be declared a day beforehand. Any sick person who wishes to cross must agree to be checked by an Egyptian doctor before entering the country.
Meanwhile Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has called on all Gazans crossing into Egypt to "respect its security and sovereignty". He said he would not allow "Egypt's security to be harmed".
"We stress before our Egyptian brothers that your security is our security and your stability is our stability, for the lifting of the siege, the liberation of the land, and the return of rights," Haniyeh said, commending the state for opening the crossing despite pressure from Israel and the US.