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Egypt is Palestine's 'strategic depth': PA spokesman

Palestinian government has called on Egypt to open the Rafah border with Gaza

Ahram Online, Friday 11 Jul 2014
Egypt
Palestinian Authority spokesman Ehab Bseiso (Photo: PA website)
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Palestinian Authority spokesman Ehab Bseiso told MENA agency on Friday that Palestinians appreciate Egypt's support for them and their cause, and that Egypt is Palestine's "strategic depth", a reference to the history of Egypt's support for the Palestinian cause.

Bseiso also reiterated the PA's demand that Egypt open the Rafah border crossing, and said that the demand was based on the right of movement of Palestinians, and also on Egypt's national security needs.

The Gaza Strip has been bombarded by Israeli airstrikes for the last four days, leaving at least 100 Palestinians dead. The crossing with Egypt at Rafah has been frequently closed over the last year, and Egyptian security forces have demolished cross-border tunnels, citing security concerns in the Sinai Peninsula where Islamist militants are active.

Egypt however opened the crossing on Thursday to allow injured Palestinians to enter to receive treatment in Egyptian hospitals, according to a statement by the Palestinian embassy in Egypt. It was not clear for how long the border would remain open.

The increase in tensions began in mid-June when officials blamed the abduction of three Israeli teens on Hamas. The three teenagers were later found murdered. Israel responded to the kidnappings by arresting many Hamas members across the West Bank, leading to retaliatory rocket fire. The Israeli military says more than 160 Gazan rockets have struck Israel since, although there have been no Israeli casualties so far.

Bseiso stated that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas have been in contact since the Israeli offensive began.

Bseiso also said that the Palestinian government will provide medical services and assistance to Palestinians living in Gaza, in addition to providing electricity for hospitals.

"We will keep supporting and serving our people, regardless of the incitement of the Israeli government," he was quoted as saying.

The Palestinian spokesman also said that the Israeli government had prevented four Palestinian ministers from entering Ramallah, calling on the international community to intervene and allow ministers to move around freely. 

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