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Envoy: Egypt won’t blockade Gaza

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Egypt will not allow the Gaza Strip to remain sealed, Egypt’s ambassador to the United States said.

“You cannot punish the people of Gaza if you happen to differ with those who control Gaza,” Nabil Fahmy said Feb. 15, addressing the Palestine Center, a Washington think tank. “We in Egypt will not support the starvation of the Palestinian people.”

Israel currently is blockading Gaza in a bid to stop rocket attacks on Israel’s south by Hamas, which controls Gaza, and other terrorist groups.

Fahmy suggested that Egypt will continue to allow supplies to reach Gaza through the border it shares at Rafah. However, Egypt is working with Israel, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank, the European Union and the United States in efforts to fully open the Rafah border and, if possible, the crossings Gaza shares with Israel. He said Egypt favors allowing P.A. personnel to man the borders.

Israel will not deal with Hamas but is in peace talks with the Palestinian Authority. In fighting last summer, Hamas forced loyalists to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas out of Gaza, taking control of the strip.

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