Egypt will open the Rafah crossing in 10 days for the first time since 2007 and will effectively end its siege of Gaza. But Palestinians are also hoping that the passage of goods between Gaza and Egypt will reopen as well. "We prefer trading with Arab and Islamic states rather than with Israel," a source at the Gaza borders authority said.
However, Rafah smuggling tunnels will continue to serve as the main route for the passage of goods into the Strip.
Elements in the Palestinian Authority welcomed Egyptian Foreign Minister Minister Nabil El-Arabi's announcement of the reopening of the Rafah crossing. Head of Gaza's border authority stressed the importance of the decision for the people of Gaza.
He called to reactivate the passageway of goods between Gaza and Egypt and demanded that Cairo continue pushing Israel to end the Gaza blockade. "It is better for us if bilateral trade with Gaza be with Arab and Islamic states rather than Israel," he said. "This will only happen if Egypt open its doors to the passage of goods, create a common industrial center and sign mutual trade agreements."
Alaa al-Rafati, Hamas's economy minister said that the Gaza government plans on building an industrial zone on the Egyptian-Palestinian border. He added that 1,300 plants have recently been reactivated, after some 3,500 of them were closed following the blockade. Al-Rafati stated that the center will take a year or two to build.
Currently, only foreign citizens, overseas visa holders and Palestinians entering Egypt for studies or medical treatment are allowed to cross the Rafah border. Since the upheaval in Cairo, the number of those entering from Gaza has been limited to 300 per day and trade has been suspended with the exception of the passage of humanitarian aid.
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