Palestinians engage with Egyptian public in bid to open Rafah crossing

Saleh Naami , Sunday 5 Jun 2011

With Palestinians growing increasingly despairing of the failure of Egypt's new government to keep the Rafah border with Gaza open, they are opening up new channels to exert pressure

Palestinian sources predict an escalation in protests in Gaza to put pressure on Egyptian authorities to re-open Rafah border crossing.

A Palestinian official in Gaza told Ahram Online that if the Egyptian government does not solve the current problems in Rafah, hundreds of thousands of Gazans will organise a mass march towards the border crossing to force its opening, possible leading to clashes.

“The Palestinians are working with Egyptian rights groups, media, political forces and the Youth movements’ leaders to exert heavy pressures on the Egyptian government in order not to restore restrictions on the Rafah crossing,” he said.

The official added that Palestine has high expectations of Egypt’s new political order and are waiting for fundamental changes in its border security policy.

He noted that Israel and US are putting a lot of pressure on the Egyptian leadership to keep in place the restrictions implemented during the Mubarak regime, adding that some elements within security and intelligence prefer to maintain this policy.  

“The Egyptian officials who administrate the crossing show us [the Palestinians] that they have no intention to fully open the border and carry out the Egyptian government's decision to make the Palestinians' lives easier,” the official added.

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