A woman waits for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammed Salem.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Egypt opened the Rafah crossing on Wednesday for Palestinians to enter and exit the Gaza Strip.
Cairo decided on Tuesday to open the crossing, the sole pedestrian passageway between Egypt and Gaza, from Wednesday until Saturday, the PLO Embassy in Cairo announced, according to the official Palestinian Authority news site Wafa.
Egypt last opened Rafah for consecutive days in early February. Before then, it had shuttered the crossing for some 50 days.
Pictures shared on Twitter on Wednesday show dozens of Palestinians standing in crowded spaces in the passageway.
Since the ousting of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, Cairo has seldom opened Rafah. The crossing was open for 42 days in 2016 and for 36 days in 2017, according to Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, an Israeli NGO that tracks human rights issues related to Gaza.
Some 30,000 Gazans including students, business people and ill persons are on a waiting list to travel from Gaza to Egypt through Rafah.
Palestinian officials have said Egypt frequently keeps the crossing closed because of the unstable security situation in the Sinai Peninsula.
On February 9, Egypt announced a major security campaign against armed groups in Sinai.
Israel also controls a pedestrian crossing with Gaza, the Erez crossing. While the country allows people to pass through it daily, it heavily limits the number of people who have access to it.
The IDF holds that the restrictions are in place for security purposes.