Hamas denies Egypt company charging additional fees at Rafah crossing

Ahram Online , Sunday 3 Mar 2024

Taher Al-Nono, the media advisor to the head of the political bureau of Hamas, denied allegations that an Egyptian company is imposing additional fees on Palestinians wanting to cross into Egypt from Gaza at the Rafah Border Crossing.

The Rafah border crossing
The Rafah border crossing


In a phone interview on "In the Evening with Kaswaa Elkhelaly" TV show on CBC channel, Al-Nono denied allegations that Cairo-based Hala Tourism company was charging Palestinian travellers thousands of dollars in crossing fees.

The leading Hamas figure said that these allegations were lies fabricated by “the Zionist occupation” to sow division between the Egyptian and Palestinian peoples.

"These are rumours aimed at targeting the Egyptian role, which is the only constant and strongest role in supporting the Palestinian people, these (allegations) are Israeli Zionist rumours spread by their agents and those who oppose the Egyptian role," he told TV host Kaswaa Elkhelaly.

The Israeli occupation does not want there to be a strong relationship between the Palestinian and Egyptian people, nor at the leadership level, he said.

“[Egypt] has never fallen short in its support for our people,” he added

Al-Nono’s comments come after London-based Sky News TV aired a report accusing the Egyptian tourism company of receiving thousands of dollars in return for allowing Palestinians in Gaza to pass through Rafah crossing.

Similar accusations were raised in early January and were officially denied by the head of Egypt’s State Information Service Diaa Rashwan.

Collective punishment in north Gaza

Al-Nono also spoke about the recent “flour massacre” in north Gaza, saying that the Israeli army is punishing the residents for refusing to be displaced south to Rafah.

Early on Thursday, at least 112 people were killed and more than 760 injured after Israeli aircraft and tanks opened fire on civilians gathered at an aid distribution point at the Nabulsi roundabout in northern Gaza.

Al-Nono pointed out that the massacre has begun to shift international opinion.

“The international community has begun to tell Netanyahu ‘enough’ of these crimes, and no one can tolerate this scene of bloodshed anymore,” he said.

He also pointed out the importance of aid deliveries from Egypt.

“We do not deny that the need is great, and this aid contributes to strengthening the resilience of the Palestinian people,” He said hoping that all Arab and international countries send aid to Gaza.

Keen to reach ceasefire

He added that if the US pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel proves successful, a genuine truce could be achieved before the start of the Holy Month of Ramadan next week.

Nevertheless, the media advisor of the Hamas political bureau made clear that “any ceasefire agreement with the Zionist entity will not be at the expense of the Palestinian people and their rights."

"We are keen to reach an agreement to alleviate the suffering of our people,” he said.

The Hamas official reasserted that any agreement must ensure a ceasefire, Israel's withdrawal from all areas of Gaza, guarantee the delivery of aid, and end the blockade.

“These three issues are the main keys to any agreement,” he said.

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