Egypt to permanently open border with Gaza


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Egypt will permanently open its Rafah border crossing with Gaza.

The Egyptian border with Gaza will be opened daily beginning May 28, the Egyptian state MENA news agency reported. The border has been closed since 2007, when the Islamist Hamas organization assumed control of the coastal strip.

The decision is "part of Egyptian efforts to end divisions among Palestinians and to finalize their reconciliation."

Egypt brokered the recent reconciliation between the Fatah Party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas, which Israel, the United States and the European Union deem a terrorist organization.

The opening takes the steam out of Israel’s land and sea blockade of Gaza, which began after Hamas’ takeover of Gaza.

It is not clear if only people or also goods will be allowed to cross the Rafah border. Israel limits the kinds of goods that enter Gaza in order to prevent weapons-making material from falling into the hands of Hamas and other terrorist groups.

"This is a dangerous development that may allow for the entrance of weaponry, explosives and al-Qaida agents into the strip," Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said Thursday.

Shalom said Israel must do everything in its power to stop the opening of the Rafah crossing without international supervision.

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