May 26, 2011
Egypt to permanently open border with Gaza
Egypt will permanently open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza by the weekend.
The Egyptian border with Gaza will be opened daily beginning on May 28, the Egyptian state MENA news agency reported.
The decision is “part of Egyptian efforts to end divisions among Palestinians and to finalize their reconciliation.” Egypt brokered the recent reconciliation between the Fatah party, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Islamist Hamas organization.
The opening takes the steam out of Israel’s land and sea blockade of Gaza, which began after Hamas took over power in Gaza in 2007. The Egyptian border closed at the same time.
It is not clear if only people, or also goods, will be allowed to cross the Rafah border. Israel limits the kind of goods that enter Gaza in order to prevent weapons-making material from falling into the hands of Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
“This is a dangerous development that may allow for the entrance of weaponry, explosives, and al-Qaeda agents into the Strip,” Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday, saying that Israel must do everything in its power to stop the opening of the Rafah crossing without international supervision.