Egypt to Permanently Open Rafah Crossing, “Israel” Concerned


"Israeli" concerns escalated as Egypt said it will permanently open the Rafah border crossing as part of its plans to ease the blockade on Gaza.

According to Maan news agency, Egypt's Foreign Minister Nabil Al Arabi said his country would take "important steps to help ease the blockade on Gaza in the few days to come".

He said Egypt would no longer accept that the Rafah border - Gaza's only crossing that bypasses "Israel" -- remain blocked, describing his country's decision to seal it off as "shameful."

Egypt has largely kept Rafah closed, opening it exceptionally for humanitarian cases from the besieged Gaza Strip.

In Tel Aviv, a senior "Israeli" official said the Zionist entity is "very concerned" about the implications of the Rafah crossing being thrown open.

Speaking anonymously, the "Israeli" official said Gaza's Hamas rulers had already build up a "dangerous military machine" in northern Sinai which could be further strengthened by opening the border. "We are very concerned about the situation in northern Sinai where Hamas has succeeded in building a dangerous military machine, despite Egyptian efforts to prevent that," he told AFP, without giving further details. "What power could they amass if Egypt was no longer acting to prevent that build up?"

This step comes also on the backdrop of a Hamas-Fatah Palestinian reconciliation that alarmed the "Israeli" enemy too.

Soon after the Hamas-Fatah meeting on reconciliation, "Israeli" Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of the Likud Party, denounced the draft agreement of Palestinian unity, and added that "Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas chose peace with Hamas instead of peace with Israel".

Netanyahu said that peace with "Israel" and reconciliation with the Hamas movement cannot go hand in hand, "Israeli" daily, according to Haaretz.

Meanwhile, "Israeli" Foreign Minister Avigdor on Thursday Lieberman on his part expressed fears that Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip would eventually take over the Palestinian Authority-ruled West Bank as well, using, among other things, freed Hamas activists.

The two Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas -with Egypt as their medium- agreed Wednesday to reconcile and form an interim government ahead of elections, after a four-year period of conflicts, in what both sides hailed as a chance to start a fresh page in their national history.

'Rafah crossing to be permanently open!'

"Egypt's foreign minister said in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Thursday that preparations were underway to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis.Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi told Al-Jazeera that within seven to 10 days, steps will be taken in order to alleviate the "blockade and suffering of the Palestinian nation."

The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt's uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now. Israel's blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007. The policy also aims to reduce Hamas' popularity among Gazans by creating economic hardship in the Strip. Rafah's opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing...."
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