World Bulletin / News Desk
European officials have said that a passage for people and merchandise between the Gaza Strip and the port of Larnaca in the Greek Cypriot-controlled southern Cyprus may be secured to find a "comprehensive, permanent solution" to the Gaza crisis.
Ynetnews reported on Friday that European officials told Palestinian media outlets that a sea route, if established, will be monitored by European observers at both ends in order to prevent security violations.
"We want to find a solution to the Gaza problem by reactivating the 2005 agreement on the crossings – including the crossing between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank," a source said, noting that Europe had consulted the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government and Egypt.
While the unnamed source said that Europe is still waiting for a response from the parties, talks between Israeli and Palestinian delegations in Egypt are continuing to help maintain an uneasy ceasefire after a month of fighting left almost 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza dead.
The Gaza Strip remains blockaded by land and sea by both Israel and Egypt. Egypt temporarily opened the Rafah crossing during ousted president Mohamed Morsi's one-year reign, but it was closed again after he was brought down by military coup in July 2013.
According to Ynetnews, sources said that Germany, France and the United Kingdom offered to send a European delegation to Egypt to suggest that European observers monitor the Rafah crossing, but Egypt said it would prefer observers from the Palestinian Authority's presidential guard.
Gaza's Hamas government meanwhile demanded an end to the economically stifling blockade of the enclave imposed by both Israel and Egypt, which also sees the movement as a security threat due to its affiliation with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement.
The 1.8 million people of Gaza have relied on underground tunnels to smuggle goods in and out of the region, mainly between Gaza and the Sinai peninsula. However, Israel has accused Hamas of using the tunnels to smuggle rockets that are fired on their territory, and have thus sought to destroy them in their latest onslaught.
Fishermen in Gaza who attempt to leave Gaza waters often have their boats sunk by the Israeli navy. Outside attempts to break the Israeli blockade have also failed, most notably the international aid flotilla which left Istanbul only to be raided by Israeli commandos in international waters in 2010.
Eight Turkish citizens and one young man with both Turkish and US citizenship were immediately killed as Israeli commandos fired live ammunition. Another Turkish citizen died after four years in a coma in 2014.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 11 Ağustos 2014, 17:51