Hamas says communication ongoing with Egypt

MENA , Wednesday 20 Nov 2013

Gaza rulers affirm that Israel is chiefly responsible for the blockade and hope for an uninterrupted opening of Egypt's Rafah border crossing

Egypt border
Palestinians walk toward the Rafah border crossing (Photo: AP)

Bassem Naim, advisor to Gaza's Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said on Wednesday communication between the Islamist government and the interim government in Egypt was ongoing, mainly through the General Intelligence Apparatus.

"These communications had positive implications, chief among them is the opening of the Rafah border crossing every now and then," Naim said in a press statement, adding that he wished for an improvement in "the circumstances, the means and the results of communication."

Naim further expressed his hope for a complete and undisrupted opening of the crossing, given that its closure has negatively impacted "everyone and everything in Gaza."

"There are communications with Arab and global countries to inform them of the situation in Gaza and the consequences of the blockade... to help us resolve the crisis of the crossing's closure," said Naim, stressing that Israeli occupation was chiefly responsible for the blockade.

For the 1.7 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the Rafah crossing is the only land gateway to the outside world not subject to Israeli control.

Since the July overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has only intermittently opened its Rafah border crossing.

The closure was attributed to the rising tension between Hamas -- an ideological offshoot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood -- and Egypt's interim leaders, who accuse the movement of having assisted militants in Sinai since the ouster of Morsi, a Hamas ally.

When open, as it was again on Monday following 10 days of closure, the Rafah crossing's operating times are limited to four hours daily. 

Only authorised travellers -- including foreign nationals, visa holders, and patients seeking medical treatment abroad -- have been permitted to cross.

Egyptian officials said restrictions in Rafah are linked to the volatile situation in the Sinai Peninsula, where the army has launched an offensive to flush out Islamist militants.

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