A Palestinian boy waits with his family for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip December 17, 2017. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustaf
CAIRO – 20 February 2018: Egyptian authorities announced the opening of the Rafah Crossing in both directions for four days, starting from February 21, to allow the passage of humanitarian cases.
The decision comes amid the successful military operation “Sinai 2018” that was officially announced by armed forces spokesman Tamer al-Refae on Friday, February 9 to purge the country from terrorism. About 67 terrorists have been killed and hundreds arrested since the beginning of the operation. The last time the border was opened was in February 7 for three consecutive days.
Egypt has been playing a key role in the reconciliation process between the rival movements Fatah and Hamas. In October 2017, a reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo between them.
Rafah Border Crossing is one of the most important crossings between Egypt and Gaza which was formally under Gaza authorities’ control.
This Crossing is mainly specialized for individual movements across borders, and it was being prepared for goods transfer between the two courtiers. The Rafah crossing border's importance increased after the Israeli forces had destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001; which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.
On September 17, Hamas movement announced the dissolution of the administrative committee in the Gaza Strip, inviting the Government of National Reconciliation to assume its duties and hold general elections. The movement affirmed it would comply with the Social Reconciliation Accord signed in 2011.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that there is no country as vital to the Palestinian cause as Egypt due to its historical and political position in the region. “Egypt has an opinion, a position and an interest in the Palestinian cause,” said Abbas.