EU monitors shut down Rafah Crossing after Palestinian PM Haniyeh crosses to Egypt in car

December 28, 2006 9:02 PM IMEMC & Agencies Miscellaneous, News Report, Rafah 0

The Rafah Border Crossing, in southern Gaza Strip connecting Gaza to Egypt,
was shut down by European monitors on Thursday midday after Palestinian
Prime Minister Isma'el Haniyeh passed through the crossing in his car.

Haniyeh was on his way to the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia when he crossed the border in his car instead on foot, accompanied by Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmod Al Zahar and Interior Minister Saeed Seyam.

European monitors in the crossing told Israeli media that the action by the Palestinian PM was in violation of an agreement reached two weeks ago which does not allow the PM to cross the border crossing with his car.  Evidently the action angered the European monitors stationed at the place which led the EU monitors to temporarily close the crossing.

Closing the Rafah border left scores of Palestinian residents stranded on both sides of the crossing, waiting to cross following family visits for the Muslim holyday of Eid Al Adha. Local sources reported that talks are underway in an attempt to re-open the crossing.

The Rafah border crossing, the only way in or out of the Strip, had been reopened on Thursday morning from both sides. Palestinian Sources reported that the crossing would be opened from 10:00 AM till 5:00 PM Palestinian time.

The Rafah crossing has only been intermittently opened since the international siege was imposed on the Palestinian people.  The result of the inconsistent openings have placed a huge burden on the Palestinians, restricting travel, export and import of items, and creating an extreme hardship on individuals who are suffering from medical conditions, and as a result, at least 8 have died since August while waiting to cross.

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