Rafah border crossing reopened in both directions

Pauline Gross
November 19, 2017

Egypt has opened the Rafah border crossing, the only corridor between the Gaza Strip and Egyptian territory, allowing passage in both directions for three days, the Palestinian Authority said.

Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since 2007, handed the crossing over to the PA at the beginning of November, marking the first concrete change since an Egypt-sponsored reconciliation process started to heal a decade-long rift between Hamas and its rival Fatah group.

Azzam al-Ahmad, an adviser to President Mahmoud Abbas, said Wednesday that Egypt cited "special circumstances" for delaying the Rafah crossing's opening.

According to the ministry, around 16,000 Palestinians have registered to cross the terminal.

The switching of control of border security on the Palestinian side from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority is part of a reconciliation agreement reached in Cairo in October between Palestinian factions. The crossing will be closed again on Monday.

Fatah: Rafah crossing to open soon

In a related development, the head of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority's security services arrived in Gaza on Friday.

A senior Palestinian official close to Faraj told Haaretz that the meetings he will hold in the coming days are in preparation for the meeting next week in Cairo, which will include all of the Palestinian factions.

Israel and Egypt have maintained a blockade on Gaza to isolate Hamas.

It has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and the blockaded Gaza Strip has seen deteriorating humanitarian conditions.

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