December 11, 2017

Egypt to open Rafah border crossing with Gaza

The Rafa border crossing does not have the 'outlaw charm' of a smugglers tunnel but it is a lot cleaner.

Egypt is to permanently open the Rafah border crossing into Gaza permanently to most Palestinians from Saturday, the Egyptian state news agency Mena is reporting.

Gaza has been under blockade since 2007, when the Islamist Hamas movement took control of the territory. The Mubarak regime in Egypt was opposed to Hamas and joined with Israel in blockading the Palestinian territory.

Israel is concerned that weapons will flood into Gaza if the border is reopened. Although hundreds of smuggling tunnels run between Egypt and Gaza.

The Rafah crossing is the only border crossing with Gaza not controlled by Israel.

Mena reports it will be open Saturday to Thursday from 0900 to 2100 and “Palestinian women of all ages will be exempted from visas as will men under 18 or over 40,” Mena reported.

The transitional military government in Egypt has moved to normalise ties with the Palestinian territories. Last month they brokered a peace deal between Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah which has paved the way for the reuniting of the West Bank and Gaza strip.