Rafah crossing border – Courtesy of Flickr/ Gigi Ibrahim
CAIRO – 16 June 2018: Upon President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s directions, Egyptian authorities decided to continue the opening of Rafah crossing over the three-day Eid El Fitr, starting Friday until Sunday (June 15-17) in both directions, according to the Palestinian embassy in Cairo.
Palestinian ambassador to Egypt Diab al-Louh thanked the Egyptian authorities, hailing Egypt’s effort in alienating Palestinian travelers’ suffrage the statement added.
On May 18, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered to keep the Rafah crossing with Gaza open for the entire month of Ramadan. “I issued directives to take the necessary measures to keep the Rafah border crossing open throughout the holy month of Ramadan in a bid to relieve some of the burdens suffered by our brothers in the Gaza strip,” Sisi posted on Facebook and Twitter.
A total of 11,455 Palestinian passengers have been recorded to cross the border during Ramadan; 8,937 of whom have used it to enter Egypt to be enabled to travel abroad, while 2,518 Palestinians returned home.
The transients included students willing to complete their studies abroad, patients receiving medical treatment and employees working abroad among many others.
This crossing was mainly specialized for individual movements across borders, and was being prepared for the transfer of goods between the two countries. The importance of the Rafah border crossing increased after Israeli forces destroyed the Yasser Arafat International Airport in 2001, which was the only airport allowing Palestinians to travel.
Also in May, the Egyptian authorities have renewed and reconstructed the Rafah crossing lately, challenging the security risks in North Sinai. The crossing will be inaugurated after the end of reconstruction and development works.
Egypt has long been extending unremitting efforts to bring peace to Gaza and to perpetually reach a Palestinian reconciliation following the military flare-up in Gaza in early May.
Another reconciliation agreement was signed in Cairo in October 2017 between Palestinian rival factions Fatah and Hamas in order to achieve more stability within the Palestinian land and authorities.
On September 17, the 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.