The Hamas government on Sunday called on the Egyptian authorities to reopen the
Rafah border crossing, which was closed on Friday following a spate of terror
attacks against Egyptian security forces in Sinai.
The rival Fatah
faction in the West Bank, meanwhile, is using the closure of the border crossing
to incite Palestinians against Hamas.
Over the past few days, some Fatah
officials have called on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to copy the Egyptian
model and remove Hamas from power.
Ehab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas
government in the Gaza Strip, said that the Rafah terminal “should stay out of
the political conflict in Egypt.”
He said that while Hamas understands
Egypt’s security concerns, “there is no reason why the Rafah border crossing
should be closed, hindering the movement of Palestinian residents.”
closure of the Rafah terminal, he added, “intensifies the siege imposed on the
Ghissin said that hundreds of Palestinians remain stranded
on both sides of the border because of the Egyptian decision to close the
He said that reopening the terminal would have no effect on the
security situation in Egypt.
Sources in the Gaza Strip said nearly 1,000
Palestinian pilgrims who visited Mecca have not been able to return home because
of the closure of the border.
In addition to closing the Rafah terminal,
the Egyptian army has also destroyed several smuggling tunnels along the border
between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in the past few days, sources close to Hamas
confirmed on Sunday.
The sources said that the Egyptian measures have
resulted in a shortage of fuel and basic goods in the Gaza Strip.
Assaf, a Fatah spokesman, blamed Hamas for the closure of the terminal. He said
that Hamas’s meddling in the internal affairs of Egypt – by supporting the
Muslim Brotherhood – has harmed the national interests of the
“Hamas’s position does not represent the Palestinian
people,” Assaf said, holding the Islamist movement responsible for the closure
of the border.
“Hamas’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood obstructs our
main goal to get rid of occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state
with Jerusalem as its capital, and ensure the right of return for Palestinian
Assaf said that in addition to interfering in Egypt, Hamas was
also meddling in the internal affairs of Lebanon and Syria, on instructions from
the Muslim Brotherhood leadership.
The Fatah spokesman urged the Egyptian
government to reopen the Rafah terminal to alleviate the suffering of
“We won’t allow Hamas to hold Palestinians hostage,” he
said. “Hamas is serving the agenda of external forces.”
Secretary-General Yasser Abed Rabbo called on Hamas to reconsider its policies,
in wake of the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi.
“The victory of the
revolution in Egypt and the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood regime requires
that Hamas reconsider its policies,” Abed Rabbo said. “We hope that Hamas will
draw the conclusions and agree to real democratic elections for the sake of the
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