Egypt Reopens Rafah Crossing Point After Days Of Closure

Egypt reopened the Rafah crossing — the enclave’s only border point not controlled by Israel — on Thursday, allowing one-way traffic into the coastal enclave as Israel eased import restrictions. According to two Egyptian security officials, Cairo’s decision to temporarily close the border was based on security reasons, with Israeli forces striking sites in Gaza. In addition to that, officials said that the move aimed at pressuring Hamas because of the “differences” between Egypt and the militant group regarding the Israeli ceasefire and the reconciliation between the militancy and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Since 2007, Israel has maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip, disallowing the transfer of goods and services. Accordingly, the Rafah crossing border constitutes Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world when it is open. Hence, closing it further exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories.

Iyad al-Bozum, a spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry, said Hamas had been notified of the closure. He said they were in contact with Egyptian authorities to reopen Rafah.

“The closure of the crossing exacerbates the humanitarian crisis inside the Gaza Strip,” he said.

The ongoing tensions between Hamas and Israel cast a spotlight on the fragility of the ceasefire signed in May to end the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. Though Egypt was hailed for its generous efforts in the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip, the absence of an optimal solution will never end the conflict not anytime soon.

Pragmatically speaking, tensions can escalate again, if Israel refuses to recognize the Palestinians’ land rights specified in the resolution (242) which calls on Israel to withdraw from lands occupied in 1967. Given that the Israeli right-wing parties are already dominating Israeli politics, tensions may flare up once again between the occupying power and the innocent Palestinians.

Nonetheless, the upsurge in Palestinian activism is a potent reminder to Israel that it cannot wish away its Palestinian neighbors, not even through normalization deals with the Arab countries.

Marwa El-Shinawy, Ph.D. in American Theater and member of the Higher Committee for the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theater, writes: “How then does the US support the two-state solution while encouraging Israel to undermine the possibility of establishing a Palestinian state on the ground?”

“How does the US call for peace in the Middle East and encourage the Israelis to escalate the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians at the same time? What is happening now to the Palestinians is the true test of the Biden administration, which claims it has come to defend human rights. Indeed, Palestinian lives matter,” El-Shinawy added.

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