Hamas holds a rally , demanding reopening of Rafah crossing terminal

The ruling Hamas party in Gaza organized on Sunday morning a rally in claim of reopening the Rafah crossing terminal in southern Gaza, closed since June2007, when Hamas-led forces took over the coastal region.

The rally, led by a number of Hamas lawmakers, was held at the Egyptian gate of the terminal , where Ahmad Bahar, deputy-speaker of parliament spoke to media outlets.

‘ I call upon president Mubarak of Egypt, Aarab lawmakers, Organization of the Islamic conference and Mr. Ban Ki-Moon to relieve the people of Gaza of such a crippling blockade’. Bahar appealed.

The Palestinian lawmaker also pointed out the devastating impact of the Israeli blockade, saying that more than 3000 Gaza patients are awaiting referral to hospitals outside of Gaza and that Israel has not committed to lifting the blockade by allowing only 60 shipments of commodities out of 450 on daily basis, since a ceafire has been concluded in June19, 2008.

Asked by IMEMC , who is responsible for maintaining the closure of Rafah crossing terminal, Hamas lawmaker, Salem Salama, asserted ‘ the Egyptians and the Palestinian presidency are the ones blocking reopening of the terminal. However, the Hamas leadership has shown flexibility towards reopening of the terminal in accordance with the 2005 agreement, these parties still prevent such reopening’.

The Sunday’s rally comes concurrent with the international day of solidarity with Gaza to lift the Israel blockade.

Since June2007, Egypt ordered the closure of the terminal after almost 70 European observers left the crossing right after the Hamas’ takeover of Gaza in June14.

President Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah, whose party was ejected form Gaza insists that reopening of the terminal should be in accordance with the 2005 U.S-brokered operation agreement.

Hamas wants the terminal ‘a Palestinian-Egyptian’ without any international intervention, claiming that the Europeans have nothing to do over there.

In 2005, Abbas’ security guards were installed along with European civil observers AT the Rafah crossing terminal to administer movement of 1.5 million Gaza residents, for whom the terminal is the sole outlet to the outside world.

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IMEMC & Agencies

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