Egypt temporarily reopens Rafah crossing

The border crossing will open briefly for the first time in three weeks.
Palestinians wait to board a bus to travel to Egypt through the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, on January 29, 2019. – The sole passenger crossing between Gaza and Egypt was expected to reopen in both directions today, according to the Palestinian territory’s ruling Hamas movement, after it was partially closed amid Palestinian political infighting. (Photo by Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto)

The Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza Strip was temporarily reopened in both directions on Tuesday after being partially closed for more than 20 days due to some internal Palestinian disputes.

An official source at the Hamas-controlled crossing said that “the Egyptian gate of the crossing was opened at 10 am and buses moving Palestinian passengers started to enter.”

Hundreds of citizens have gathered since early morning in front of Rafah crossing gate and were waiting to hear their names in the travel lists despite the cold weather, said an AFP reporter.

“I came to visit my family and then the crossing closed,” said 30-year-old Samar Obaid, who was crying before leaving with her son.

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“We found that my son, who is an Egyptian national, has leukemia and must return to Egypt to be treated as he can’t be treated in Gaza, and every delay is a threat to his life.”

Huwaida al-Jibali, on her part, who left with her 28-year-old son, said that “opening the crossing for three days is not enough. Many people have humanitarian needs, and some are patients, students and businessmen…”

She explained that she would travel from Egypt to Abu Dhabi, where her son found a job after failing to find one in Gaza, adding that the situation there is bad and youth have no job opportunities.

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Notably, the Palestinian Authority (PA) withdrew its employees from Rafah crossing on January 6 after reportedly accusing Hamas of arresting and abusing them.

This left Hamas in control of Gaza’s only entry point into Egypt, whose authorities have subsequently kept the crossing shut to incoming Palestinians.

Rafah border crossing is the only way out for Gaza’s two million residents.

Egypt opens the crossing for humanitarian cases at various intervals while Israel has been imposing a tenacious siege on the Strip for ten years now.

Hamas managed Rafah border crossing with Egypt and Kerem Shalom and Beit Hanoun border crossings with Israel when it seized control of Gaza Strip in the summer of 2007.

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Consequently, an accordance government was formed and took over the crossing in October 2017 after reaching understandings with Hamas, although, they later collapsed. 


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