Sunday, May 1, 2011

Israel outraged over Rafah reopening

Egypt plans to permanently open the Rafah border crossing.

Source: Press TV

Israeli vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom has voiced outrage at Egypt's decision to permanently reopen the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip.

“It's a worrying development... The reopening of the Rafah crossing could allow the passage of arms and terrorists and we must prepare for important changes both in Egypt and at the regional level,” AFP quoted Shalom as saying on Israel's public radio on Sunday.

On Thursday, Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi announced plans to permanently open the previously blocked Rafah crossing within 10 days.

Al-Arabi said that the decision was aimed at easing the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and alleviating the “blockade and suffering of the Palestinian people.”

Over 1.5 million people in the coastal strip have been living under an Israeli siege since June 2007.

The plan indicates a change in policy following Egypt's February revolution which ousted the longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly plans to send an envoy to Cairo to express his concern to Egypt's interim government.

Tel Aviv has also voiced concerns over a unity deal between Palestinian rival factions of Fatah and Hamas.

The two factions announced on Friday that they would sign a deal on May 4 in Cairo to form a unity government.

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