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Rafiach Crossing is Under Egyptian Control

While Israel is hinging the opening of the Rafiach Crossing between Gaza and Egypt on Hamas’ release of Gilad Shalit, the daily Haaretz reports the crossing point is not necessarily closed as people may believe.
Haaretz reports on Monday that an inspection revealed that since the takeover of Gaza by Hamas last summer, the crossing has been opened at least 50 times. In theory, Israel must approve such a move but in reality, Egypt has done so and continues to do so without Israeli approval.
In accordance with the agreement, Israeli and European Union observers are supposed to supervise the crossing when it is open. Egypt however decides when the border crossing is to be opened, since Israeli observers are not present. Egypt is using the crossing to serve its own interests in the ongoing cat-and-mouse game between Cairo and Hamas. Egypt views the crossing as a means of flexing its muscle and imposing its control on the Hamas regime in Gaza.
In the meantime, Israel on Sunday began relaxing the embargo on Gaza, permitting 78 trucks to enter with supplies via the Sufah Crossing, an increase from the recent usual average of 60 trucks daily. Similar increases were seen at the Karnei Crossing, and the Erez Crossing was opened to permit those seeking medical services inside Green Line Israel to enter.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

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