Rafah crossing
Photo: AP

Egypt opens Rafah crossing

Gazans hope crossing, opening to allow wounded, humanitarian aid through, will remain active

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak ordered the opening of the Rafah border crossing to Gaza Tuesday, a day after an IDF raid on a flotilla bound for the Strip, in order to allow the passage of humanitarian aid.


He said Palestinians would also be allowed into Egypt in order to receive medical treatment.


Mubarak has not yet put a time limit on the opening of the crossing, which generally remains open for a few days each month. Sources in Gaza say that for now the crossing will be open every day from 9 am to 5 pm.


Egyptian sources told Ynet that the crossing is always open to urgent humanitarian cases, and that for a few days a month it is also open to Palestinians who have coordinated ahead of time.


Palestinian officials expressed hope that international pressure following the flotilla raid would encourage Israel to ease the siege imposed on Gaza three years ago. They said they hoped Rafah crossing would remain open indefinitely.


However sources in Gaza said they do not believe Egypt will change its policy at the crossing, which is currently to insist upon the Palestinian Authority's presence there before it can be fully activated.


Another hope hung upon the failed flotilla is that it will lend support to truce efforts between rivals Hamas and Fatah. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a meeting Monday in which he approved a delegation to head to Gaza Wednesday in order to begin talks.


However Hamas has already announced that a repeated effort at getting it to sign a truce accord drafted by Egypt would come up empty-handed. Many believe that despite the Palestinian desire for peace, the differences between the two organizations remain as before.


Roee Nahmias contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 06.01.10, 15:19
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