A Palestinian boy standing by a gate looks on as he waits for the return of his relatives after performing the annual Haj pilgrimage in Mecca, at Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, September 13, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMMED SALEM)
Egypt decided to open the Rafah crossing temporarily for the passage of people in both directions, the PLO Embassy in Cairo announced on Wednesday.
Egyptian authorities last opened Rafah, the sole pedestrian passageway between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, some 50 days ago.
Rafah will be open from Wednesday to Friday, the embassy said.
Pictures shared on Twitter on Wednesday show Gazans gathering on the Palestinian side of the crossing.
A resident of Gaza City said he hoped he will be able to travel abroad for studies.
“I have been waiting for several years to pursue graduate studies in Europe,” he told The Jerusalem Post in a phone call. “I hope they will let me travel this time.”
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, an Israeli NGO that tracks human rights issues in Gaza.
In addition, some 30,000 Gazans including students, business people and ill persons are on the waiting list to travel from Gaza to Egypt, Gisha spokeswoman Shai Grunberg said.
Israel also controls a pedestrian crossing with Gaza. 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.