Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will officially announce the opening of the Gaza-Egypt border terminal during a ceremony on Friday; the ceremony will be attended by dozens of Palestinian officials and representatives from around the world. The terminal is slated to be reopened for 24-hour traffic.
However, the terminal won’t open until Saturday, and only for four hours a day, the head of the European Union’s border monitoring mission said Thursday.
The opening was delayed because the European Union border monitors will not be ready to begin their task before Saturday, Israel Radio reported.
Under a U.S.-brokered Israeli-Palestinian border deal, video images from the Rafah crossing will be transmitted in real time to a joint Israeli-Palestinian-Egyptian-European monitoring room.
The Quartet’s Mid-east envoy, James Wolfensohn, wrote to President Abbas and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this week, thanking them for their efforts in completing the Rafah deal, adding that the international community is well aware that the test of the agreement will be in its implementation, at which the United States will work closely with both sides upon the request of the United States secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“Each side must act quickly, and that all progress must proceed according to schedule and must be visible” Wolfensohn stated, “The Palestinians must see that Israel has disengaged from the Gaza Strip in a way that allows them to run their own lives, and that Israel must see its security concerns addressed”.