The government in Cairo has decided to will open its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip this coming weekend. The Egyptian border with Gaza would be opened daily beginning on Saturday, the Egyptian state MENA news agency reported. The decision is “part of Egyptian efforts to end divisions among Palestinians and to finalize their reconciliation.” Egypt’s government brokered the recent ‘reconciliation’ between the Fatah party, led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip and opposes Israel’s right to exist.
The opening takes the steam out of Israel’s land and sea blockade of Gaza, which began after Hamas took over power in Gaza in 2007. The border with Egypt was closed at the same time. It is not clear yet if only people, or also goods, will be allowed to cross the Rafah border. Israel limits the kind of goods that enter Gaza in order to prevent weapons-making material from falling into the hands of Hamas and other terrorist organizations.
“This is a dangerous development that may allow for the entrance of weaponry, explosives, and al-Qaeda agents into the Strip,” Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said in reaction, emphasizing that Israel had to do everything in its power to stop the opening of the Rafah crossing without international supervision.