Abbas: Deal needed to reopen border

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that it will take an international agreement to reopen the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt in the wake of Israel’s pullout.

Abbas inaugurated a new hospital in Gaza on  Monday
Abbas inaugurated a new hospital in Gaza on Monday

“The agreement must be under Egyptian-Palestinian control but the details of entering and leaving must be subject to an international agreement,” Abbas said during the inauguration of a new hospital in Gaza on Monday.
“The (Palestinian) Authority has managed to repair in three days what the occupation destroyed at the Rafah terminal, which is in the process of being equipped to re-open to citizens 24 hours a day so that Gaza does not become a giant prison,” he added.
Israel withdrew all its soldiers from Rafah, as from the rest of Gaza, last week and the border terminal has been officially closed since 7 September.

While Israel agreed to the deployment of 750 Egyptian border guards to Rafah, it still wants to carry out inspections of civilians and merchandise entering Gaza for fear that arms could be smuggled into the territory.

Civilians and traders

Israel has said the Rafah crossing will be closed for six months, during which civilians and traders wanting to cross in and out of Gaza will have to go via a kibbutz that straddles the Palestinian territory, Egypt and Israel.

The Palestinians have endorsed the idea of a third party on the Rafah border in order to assuage fears about smuggling but reject the idea of shifting the border terminal elsewhere.

Security officers have broughtorder to the chaos of Rafah

Security officers have brought
order to the chaos of Rafah

Aides of Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres, who has overall responsibility for the Gaza pullout, have been in talks with Brussels about posting EU observers to the border, Israeli sources said.
Israel’s departure six days ago led to chaos on the border, with thousands of people crossing illegally through holes knocked out by smugglers and armed factions.

Aljazeera’s correspondent in Egypt, Amr al-Kahki, reports that the flow of people at the Salah al-Din crossing on the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is getting more streamlined.

Palestinian security and Egyptian police personnel have established order at the crossing and are preparing to officially open it in the next few days, al-Kahki said, reporting from the Egyptian side of Rafah.

Under control

The situation in Rafah is under control after the disorder of the past 10 days, the correspondent reported.
Now Palestinians are crossing into the Gaza Strip while Egyptians are moving into the Egyptian side of Rafah, al-Kahki said.

The authorities are trying to bring order after holes were blown in the barrier at the border.
These holes have now been plugged, he added.
Now people can only cross the border if they can show their ID cards or passports, al-Kahki said. 

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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