Palestinian factions reject foreign control over Rafah crossing

Yasmine Osama Farag , Wednesday 8 May 2024

Palestinian factions stressed on Wednesday their rejection of any form of non-Palestinian control over the Rafah crossing or any other border crossing in Gaza.

Displaced Palestinians arrive in central Gaza after fleeing from the southern Gaza city of Rafah in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, May 2024.AP


“Such imposition is considered a manifestation of occupation, and any plan of this kind will be dealt with in the same manner as occupation,” the Follow-up Committee of National and Islamic Forces said in a statement published on Hamas' Telegram channel.

The committee includes most Palestinian factions, including Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front.

The statement followed media reports revealing an alleged plan that an American private security firm will assume control and surveillance of the Rafah crossing.

“We call upon the Arab League, all Arab and Islamic countries, with a special emphasis on our brothers in Egypt, given their significant international and regional influence, to reject any plans or attempts that infringe upon Palestinian and Egyptian sovereignty over the Rafah crossing,” the statement added.

The committee stressed that the management of internal affairs is purely a Palestinian matter that should be agreed upon nationally through established and mutually agreed-upon mechanisms.

Israeli troops on Tuesday seized control of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt after launching an incursion into the eastern sector of the city.

Israeli Haaretz reported that the end goal of the Israeli Rafah operation includes putting an American security firm in charge of the Gaza side of the crossing.

National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby, questioned by reporters in a press briefing on Tuesday, denied knowledge of this report: “I know nothing about your question.” 

Moreover, US Department Spokesman Matthew Miller denied in a press conference his knowledge about those reported plans.

“What we've been told by our Israeli counterparts is that this operation last night was limited and designed to cut off Hamas’ ability to smuggle weapons and funds into Gaza,” Kirby added.

Miller reiterated that the US did not believe a full-scale assault on Rafah was underway, with Axios reporting that White House officials were indicating that US President Joe Biden did not see the attack as a violation of his “red line.”

“It is not our assessment that a major military operation has begun,” Miller added.

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