Egypt Decides To Permanently Open The Rafah Border Terminal
Thursday May 26, 2011 15:23 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC & Agencies
The Egyptian Authorities decided to permanently open the Rafah Border Terminal with the Gaza Strip starting this coming Saturday in an attempt to ease the deadly four-year blockade on the coastal region.
FIle - Rafah Terminal - GALLO/GETTY
The MENA news agency reported Wednesday that Cairo decided to keep the terminal opened on permanent status in an attempt to help end the internal Palestinian divisions, ease the suffering of the people and help the Palestinians maintain the national unity agreement.
According to an official Egyptian statement, the terminal will be opened starting on Saturday from 9am to 9pm and will remain permanently opened except on Fridays and national holidays.
The Qatar-based Al Jazeera reported that sources within the government in Cairo told its correspondent Ayman Mohyeeldin that the military wants to open the border terminal.
Visiting Cairo, a senior member of the Hamas movement, confirmed that that the movement and its government in Gaza received an official notification regarding Egypt’s intention to open the border crossing.
Al Jazeera English language reporter, Nicole Johnston, stated from Gaza that that Palestinians in the Strip were not surprised by the decision as they have been waiting for it since several weeks.
Johnston added that Egypt will be imposing some restrictions on the Palestinians who wish to exit Gaza as all women, children under the age of eighteen and men over the age of 40 will be allowed through the terminal while men between the ages of 18 and 40 will be required to obtain a visa.
The condition of requiring a visa could pose a serious obstacle as Egypt had shut down its representative office in the Gaza Strip and the visa would be issued from its office in the central West Bank city of Ramallah.
Yet, Egyptian officials told Hamas officials in recent weeks that Cairo intends to open a sort of a representative office in Gaza to enable the Gazans obtain visas from it, Al Jazeera reported.
Under former president, Hosni Mubarak, Egypt played a significant role in imposing the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza by closing its border with the coastal region.