Shalom: Rafah opening a 'dangerous development'

Vice premier warns al-Qaida may smuggle weapons into Gaza; Vilna'i: opening is problematic, but Egypt did not break deals.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
May 26, 2011 13:59
1 minute read.
Rafah crossing

rafah 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Vice Premier Silvan Shalom spoke out on Thursday against the opening of the Rafah crossing from Gaza into Egypt, calling for international supervision of the crossing.

"This is a dangerous development that could lead to weapons and al-Qaida smuggling into Gaza," Shalom said.

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Homeland Security Minister Matan Vilna'i also warned that the opening of the Rafah crossing will be very problematic for Israel.

However, he added in an interview with Israel Radio, that Egypt did not break any agreements with Israel.

Hamas welcomed Egypt's decision to permanently open the crossing from Gaza into Egypt.

"This decision reflects the spirit of revolution in Egypt and the depth of brotherhood between the Palestinian people and the Egyptian people, which has returned itself to its original role in the Palestinian matter," a statement released by Hamas read.

Egypt announced on Wednesday that it plans to open its border with the Gaza Strip "on a daily basis" to "ease entry restrictions for Palestinians."

Under former president Mubarak, Egypt only sporadically opened up the Rafah border crossing for food and medicine, or to let through people, mainly those seeking medical treatment or traveling to study.

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"Egyptian authorities have decided to extend the working hours at the Rafah border crossing starting from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on a daily basis, except for Fridays and official holidays, starting on Saturday, May 28," Egyptian news agency MENA said.

It said the decision came as "part of Egyptian efforts to end divisions among Palestinians and to finalize their reconciliation."

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