Gaza and Egypt maintain contact

Bassem Naeem, Gaza prime minister Ismail Haniyeh's advisor, has said that contact between the Hamas-led government and Egypt's new post-coup interim government is ongoing to secure occassional opening of the Rafah crossing, despite their disagreements.

Gaza and Egypt maintain contact

World Bulletin / News Desk

An advisor to Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday said the Hamas-run government was in "constant contact" with Egypt to discuss means of addressing the dire humanitarian circumstances faced by the impoverished Palestinian enclave.

"These contacts have yielded many results, including the occasional reopening of the Rafah border crossing [linking the Gaza Strip to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula]," Bassem Naeem said in a statement.

He explained that such contacts were usually made with Egypt's intelligence apparatus, which has traditionally handled the Palestine file.

The Gaza government, he added, had not yet reached agreement with Egyptian officials on reopening the crossing on a permanent basis.

Naeem went on to voice hope that the Rafah crossing, which represents the Gaza Strip's only access to the outside world, would be opened more frequently.

"We are informing Arab and international parties about the situation in Gaza and the effect of the [Israeli] blockade on Gaza's inhabitants," Naeem said.

Following an 11-day closure, Egyptian authorities reopened the crossing on Tuesday for a three-day period.

For the last several months, Egypt has stepped up security on and around the border with the besieged coastal enclave. Egyptian security measures have included an unprecedented crackdown on the network of smuggling tunnels linking Gaza to Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

Since the July 3 ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi, a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, relations between Hamas – an ideological offshoot of the Brotherhood – and Egypt's new military-backed rulers have deteriorated.

The Egyptian media accuses Hamas of "interfering in Egypt's internal affairs" and providing support to the Muslim Brotherhood – claims dismissed by both Hamas and the Brotherhood.

Naeem blamed Israel for the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza due to the blockade, which has been imposed on the strip since 2007.

He said the blockade had failed to politically isolate the enclave, pointing out that large numbers of visitors regularly made their way to Gaza – not to mention contacts with the outside world via modern telecommunications.

Last Mod: 20 Kasım 2013, 14:20
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