Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmad Abu Elgheit confirmed yesterday Cairo will take the necessary measures to rein in movement of Palestinians at its borders with Gaza, after floods of Gazans flew into the Egyptian territories, following knocking down of the fence-off iron wall.
Abu Elgheit said that what happened on the border line with Gaza has been attributed to the closure of the Gaza Strip over the past seven months, in which the Gaza’s residents have suffered lack of essential supplies.
He also maintained that Cairo will soon make contacts with concerned parties in order to ensure regular reopening of the Rafah crossing terminal, in accordance with 2005’s operation agreement, signed by Palestinians, Egypt and Europeans.
Over the past couple of days, the Egyptian authorities began restricting flow of Palestinians into the Egyptian territories by preventing stay at Sinai-based hotels, disallowing entry to Egyptian cities like Cairo and the Ismailya, the closet destinations to the border Egyptian town of aL-Areesh.
Egyptian media reports said that at least 3000 Palestinians from Gaza have been denied access to the said cities and that they have been returned back to the Egyptian city of Rafah, just close to the Palestinian Rafah city.
Washington, which provides Cairo with a yearly financial aid of $1.2 billion, has voiced deep concern of the situation at the Gaza-Egypt border line, calling on Egypt to regain control on its borders after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have thronged into Egypt recently.
In the meantime, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is due to hold talks in Cairo on Wednesday to coordinate positions regarding the reopening of Rafah crossing terminal.
In related news, a delegation of the ruling Hamas party in Gaza will head for Cairo on Wednesday for the same purpose.
Former advisor to Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya of Hamas, Ahmad Yousef, stated Sunday that the Hamas delegation will ensure reopening of the crossing by Palestinians and Egyptians, with no intervention by a third party.
Prior to the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June2007, when Hamas-linked forces routed Abbas-loyal security services, the Rafah crossing used to be run by the Abbas’s elite forces ‘presidential guards’ and the Egyptian authorities, with help of about 70 European observers.
In June17 of last year, Israel imposed a strict closure on the Gaza Strip, as the European observers quit the Rafah crossing terminal, leaving a vacuum. Since then, the 1.5-million residents of the coastal region have been suffering from a lack of essential supplies.
Israeli media sources reported that Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, rejected the idea that the crossing be operated, while Hamas is holding sway in Gaza.
During a meeting with Abbas in Jerusalem Sunday, Olmert pledged he would prevent a humanitarian crisis in the coastal territory, said the sources.
In mid January 2008, Israel declared a total closure of Gaza’s crossings and prevented entry of fuel supplies, medicine and food items, forcing the Gaza’s sole power plant to shut down.