The Palestinian Authority does not want to return to the Rafah border crossing
as part of a partial solution, Jibril Rajoub, a senior member of the Fatah
Central Committee, said on Saturday.
Rajoub’s announcement came as
Egyptian authorities reopened the Sinai-Gaza border crossing after a one-week
“The Palestinian leadership rejects partial appearances, such as
the presence of the Presidential Guard at the sovereign border crossings,
including Rafah,” Rajoub said.
Any solution to the crisis at the border
crossings with the Gaza Strip should be part of a comprehensive deal, he
Hamas officials have accused the PA leadership in the West Bank of
inciting the Egyptian authorities to keep the Rafah terminal closed in order to
undermine their control over the Gaza Strip.
Despite Hamas’s public
opposition to the return of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s forces to the terminal,
some of its leaders have not ruled out joint control over the border
“The time has come for Hamas to review its policies and place
Palestinian national reconciliation and unity above other considerations,”
Rajoub, a former security commander, said.
“Reconciliation and unity are
the way to achieve a Palestinian state,” he said. “Fatah will continue to work
toward achieving unity of the people, homeland, cause and leadership,
represented by the PLO.”
The Hamas government, meanwhile, said that the
Egyptian authorities allowed a few dozen Palestinians to cross via the Rafah
terminal in both directions.
Ehab Ghissin, spokesman for the Hamas
government, said the Egyptians prevented some Palestinians from leaving the Gaza
Strip to perform the haj pilgrimage to Mecca.
Maher Abu Sabha, director
of the border crossings in the Gaza Strip, said that the 130 Palestinians were
permitted to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah terminal, while another 180
were allowed to enter.
The Egyptians said that the border crossing would
be open for three days.
The terminal has been closed most of the time
since the ouster of Egyptian president Mohamed 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
Ma’an reported that some 150 people entered Egypt from Gaza, with
about 220 people traveling in the opposite direction, between 10 a.m. and 2
p.m. on Saturday.
In addition, 35 trucks containing construction
materials from Qatar entered the Strip on Saturday, Ma’an
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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