A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
Photo: AFP
A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt

For first time in years, Egypt opens Gaza border crossing 'indefinitely'

Reopening comes on second day of talks between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo aimed at clearing the way for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, set to take place in May and July

AFP |
Published: 02.09.21 , 18:01
Egypt on Tuesday opened its border with the Gaza Strip "indefinitely", a security source said, as it hosted inter-Palestinian reconciliation talks.
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  • "This isn't a routine or normal opening. This is the first time in years that the Rafah border crossing is opening indefinitely," the source said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
    A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
    A girl looks on through the window of a vehicle whose top is loaded with suitcases, while waiting at the Rafah border crossing's departure area to travel from the Gaza Strip into Egypt
    (Photo: AFP)
    "It used to open only three or four days at a time," he noted.
    Rafah is the only passage to the outside world for Gaza - a densely populated enclave of around two million Palestinians, half of whom live below the poverty line - that is not controlled by Israel.
    Gaza residents expressed a mixture of bitterness and relief Tuesday as they crossed into Egypt.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Hamas forces at Rafah border crossing
    Hamas forces at Rafah border crossing
    Hamas forces at Rafah border crossing
    (Photo: AFP)
    "I have been waiting for six months for the crossing to open... The repeated closures have cost me a semester of my studies. I hope it's really permanent," university student Ibrahim al-Shanti, 19, told AFP.
    Yasser Zanoun, 50, urged political leaders to negotiate a permanent arrangement for impoverished Gaza's worsening humanitarian plight, compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
    "This crossing must be open 24 hours a day, throughout the year. There are lots of humanitarian cases that are extremely dire," Zanoun said.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    Passengers sit next to their luggage as they wait to cross the border to the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza Strip
    Passengers sit next to their luggage as they wait to cross the border to the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza Strip
    Passengers sit next to their luggage as they wait to cross the border to the Egyptian side of Rafah crossing, in Rafah, Gaza Strip
    (Photo: AP)
    The opening came on the second day of talks between Palestinian factions in Cairo aimed at clearing the way for the first elections in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 2006.
    The Islamist movement Hamas won an unexpected landslide in the last vote, a victory not recognized by president Mahmud Abbas's Fatah, leading to bloody clashes the following year and a split in Palestinian governance, since when Egypt has intermittently closed the Rafah passage.
    Fatah has run the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas has held power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, the year Israel imposed a devastating blockade on the coastal enclave.

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