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No major change for Palestinians in Gaza entering Egypt

Cairo will facilitate the entry of Palestinians to Egypt, but will not entirely remove regulations, political officials tell Ahram Online

Dina Ezzat , Monday 23 Jul 2012
Mohamed Morsi
Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi meets with Hamas leader Khaled Meshal (Photo: Reuters)

Political and security officials said today that Cairo is planning to facilitate and not to entirely remove the set of rules that regulate the entry of Palestinians in Gaza into Egypt.

According to one of these sources the plan is to move towards increasing the number of people allowed to cross at Rafah and to expand the definition of 'humanitarian cases' who are entitled to a faster and easier entry into Egypt.

The same source said that there are plans, soon to be implemented, to upgrade the performance of passport control at Rafah to reduce the hardship that Palestinians have always long pointed to. Rafah is the only non-Israeli control exit for the otherwise besieged and impoverished Strip where over 1.5 million Palestinians have been suffering for over five years the harsh consequences of a tough Israeli siege. The blockade is compounded by the cooperation of the West Bank based Palestinian Authority and the Egyptian state under the rule of ousted president Hosni Mubarak prompted by fears of Islamist militants infiltrating to launch attacks against Israel from Sinai.

During a recent meeting in Cairo, President Mohamed Morsi promised Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal that regulations would be put in place to facilitate the entry of Palestinians 'for visits only' into Egypt.

"There are no plans that we are aware of to allow Palestinians to enter Egypt in significant numbers for long stay permits," said a security official.

On 14 June, a group of Palestinian and international organisations marked the fifth anniversary of the siege imposed by Israel by issuing a statement calling for an end to the suffocating sanctions "which violate international law."

According to these organisations, Israel is in severe breach of the Geneva Conventions that deny the occupation power the right to impose harsh sanctions on citizens under occupation.

"The time is now to end the siege imposed on Gaza," said a communiqué that was issued by the concerned humanitarian organisations to hardly any attention either from the Israeli government or Western capitals.

Egypt's plans to facilitate the regulations of entry from Gaza into Egypt are likely to be contested by Israel and the US who had convinced the Mubarak regime that it was in the interest of stability to contain Hamas in Gaza.

During his recent talks in Cairo with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President Mohamed Morsi had promised that whatever procedures Egypt is going to apply with regards to Gaza, they will not constitute any threat to stability.

Ismail Haniyah, the head of the Hamas government in Gaza is expected in Cairo in less than two weeks for talks with Morsi.


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