Egypt will be opening the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and the Palestinian Gaza Strip on August 17 – 22 in both ,directions. The border crossing was closed to regular traffic in 2014, due to Palestinian militant’s support of insurgents in Egypt’s North Sinai province.Egyptian government sources and media report that the Rafah border crossing will be opened between August 17 – 20, allowing passage in both directions, reports The Cairo Post.

Traffic via the Rafah border crossing was restricted for an indefinite period after coordinated attacks in Sheikh Zuwayad in October 2014 claimed the lives of 27 personnel of Egypt’s armed forces.

Considering the Israeli blockade against the coastal Palestinian enclave, the Rafah border crossing is one of the primary life-lines for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The last time that the border crossing was opened for humanitarian reasons was in June 2015.

Palestinian militants associated to the armed wing of Hamas as well as ISIS associated militants have been involved in supporting armed Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS affiliated militants in Egypt.

stuck_rafahThis support of insurgents in Egypt has caused internal disputes among leading members of Hamas with senior Hamas legislator Yahia Moussa, in 2013, warning that Hamas would pay a heavy price for interfering in Egypt’s internal affairs.

The heaviest price, however, is being paid by Gazans who are not involved in supporting the insurgents in Egypt. That is, the majority of people in the coastal enclave.

The Egyptian government has repeatedly stressed that Egypt would like to normalize the opening of the Rafah border crossing as soon as possible, thus mitigating the effect of the Israeli blockade. One precondition for the normalization of the opening of Rafah is that the Palestinian side of the border is controlled by Palestinian government forces and not by forces under the command of any particular political faction.

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