Egypt won’t reopen the Rafah border crossing unless forces loyal to Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are allowed to return to the terminal, the PLO
ambassador in Cairo, Barakat al-Farra, announced on Saturday.
the announcement proved that the Gaza Strip was facing a
Abbas’s presidential guard was in control of the border
crossing between 2005 and 2007, when Hamas expelled the PA from the Gaza
Farra told the Saudi network MBC said that Hamas needed to
reconsider its policy toward Egypt and the Egyptian people.
Hamas for meddling in Egypt’s internal affairs by supporting deposed president
Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
On Friday, the Egyptian
authorities notified Hamas of their decision to close the Rafah terminal “until
The terminal has been closed most of the time since the
ouster of Morsi on July 3. Egyptians have since accused Hamas of involvement in
terrorist attacks against Egyptian soldiers in Sinai – an allegation the
Islamist movement has vehemently denied.
On Wednesday and Thursday, the
Egyptians opened the terminal for four hours each day to allow a few hundred
Palestinians to leave or enter the Gaza Strip.
Hamas officials condemned
the announcement made by the PLO ambassador in Cairo, saying the closure of the
terminal would aggravate the suffering of thousands of patients and university
students, as well as Palestinians who need to return to their places of work and
their families in various countries.
Ghazi Hamad, a senior official with
the Hamas-run Foreign Ministry, described the announcement as irresponsible. The
closure of the border would increase the suffering of the people and kill their
hope, he said.
Another Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, said the
ambassador’s statements proved there was a “big conspiracy against the Gaza
Strip and the resistance.”
He accused the PA leadership of playing a
major role in enforcing the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Authority and its embassy in Egypt are conspiring against the Palestinian people
in the Gaza Strip,” Bardaweel charged.
But Yusef Rizka, political adviser
to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, said he did not rule out the possibility
of reaching an agreement with the PA on managing the Rafah
Rizka said that Hamas has been in contact with some countries
in a bid to exert pressure on the Egyptians to reopen the terminal.
Egyptians have cited security reasons to justify the closure of the border
crossing, he said.
“We hope that the closure won’t continue for a long
period, because that would mean the death of hundreds of stranded patients who
are in need of medical treatment,” he said. “The humanitarian situation inside
the Gaza Strip is very serious and has reached a dangerous point because of the
lack of fuel and basic goods.”
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