As I noted in my post from just a few days ago about Egypt reopening the Rafah crossing with Gaza, Egypt’s grand reopening wasn’t quite as grand as they made out.
…the Egyptians decided that Palestinian males under the age of 18 and over 40 do not need visas to enter Egypt. All females are also exempt from the visa requirement. In other words, they are copying Israel’s security tactic of not allowing Palestinian males between the ages of 18 and 40 to enter freely.
Today we read that Egypt seems to coming to its senses and is walking back its decision, implemented only in the breach anyway, to open the Rafah crossing to all and sundry.
Hamas expressed deep disappointment on Thursday with Egypt’s decision to impose restrictions on Palestinians traveling through the Rafah border crossing.
The new restrictions have strained relations between Hamas and Egypt less than a week after the border crossing was reopened.
Salameh Baraka, director of Hamas’s border crossing police in the Gaza Strip, denounced the restrictions as unreasonable, said they were a setback and called on Cairo to reconsider its move.
He said the Egyptians have decided to limit the number of Palestinian travelers to between 350 and 400 each day.
“The Egyptian decision came as a surprise to us,” Baraka said. “It’s completely unjustified, especially in wake of the joy on both sides of the border at the reopening of the Rafah terminal.”
He added that the Egyptians justified the restrictions by arguing that they were unable to accommodate more than 400 people per day.
“The truth of the matter is that there’s space for more than 1,000 travelers each day,” he said.
On Thursday, the Egyptian authorities allowed only four buses to cross the border, Baraka said.
He said that many Palestinians were furious with the Egyptians, particularly because they were forced to wait for up to seven hours in the heat before receiving permission to enter the terminal.
The Egyptian envoy to the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Othman, denied that the restrictions were the result of external pressure on the Egyptian authorities. He said there was no change in Egypt’s decision to reopen the border crossing and blamed technicalities and logistics for the delays and limits.
Sources close to Hamas said Egypt’s decision to impose restrictions on travelers at the border crossing was taken following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to Cairo this week.
The sources said they did not rule out the possibility that Abbas had asked the Egyptians to impose the restrictions out of fear that the reopening of the terminal would boost Hamas’s status in the Gaza Strip.
One PA official in Ramallah strongly denied the allegation. Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee, said the reopening of the border crossing was Egypt’s gift to the Palestinians for signing the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord.
Sha’ath said he was in touch with Egyptian authorities to help solve “obstacles” facing travelers at the border.
I admit I’m having a bad attack of schadenfreude at the sight of these terrorist allies being involved in internecine arguments and roping Egypt into the middle of it all.
Just as long as they don’t find a way to blame the whole mess on Israel.