PA official rejects partial control of Gaza-Egypt border crossing

Hamas accuses PA of inciting Egypt to keep Rafah crossing closed, creating new stress between the two factions.

Rafah border crossing Sinai Gaza370 (photo credit: Reuters)
Rafah border crossing Sinai Gaza370
(photo credit: Reuters)
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 closure.
“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 said.
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 crossing.
“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 denied.
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 reported.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.