Rafah crossing will reopen

Rafah-crossing-raid-1Gaza’s border crossings will be reopened once control of them is handed over to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt’s Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority (PA) Wael Attia said. The Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing despite the formation of the Palestinian unity government in April last year. In a statement to the Resalah news site Attia said: “The implementation of what was agreed regarding the management of the crossings is the key to reopening them permanently,” stressing that whoever hampers delivering the crossings to the Palestinian authority is the cause of the prolonged suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza. In the meantime the crossing will open for a 48 hour period next week on Monday and Tuesday, according to Israeli media reports

Wael Attia stressed that Egypt would not give up on sponsoring the Palestinian reconciliation efforts, saying: “Parties that wish to withdraw from the reconciliation talks should openly do so,” referencing remarks by Hamas officials who said the Egyptian judiciary’s decision to ban the movement’s activities and designate it a terrorist organisation make the country unfit to sponsor the Palestinian internal file.

“Egypt continues to play this role and when the parties are ready and serious about moving this file and implementing what was agreed upon, Egypt will invite them to meet again,” Attia said.

The ambassador pointed out that Egypt deals only with the legitimate Palestinian authority while its relations with other parties comes only within its role as sponsor of the reconciliation file.

He said Egypt will likely have special arrangements for Hamas leaders wishing to come to come to the country for reconciliation talks when they take place. Egypt’s Justice Minister said earlier that his country will prosecute and arrest Hamas leaders in Cairo following a decision designating the organisation a terrorist group. Attia ruled out that Egypt would prosecute Hamas leader Mousa Abu-Marzouq who is visiting Egypt for treatment.

This article originally appeared in Middle East Monitor

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