Saturday, May 28, 2011

'Rafah border opening to ease siege'

A Palestinian man waits before crossing into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 26, 2011

Source: Press TV

The new Egyptian government says that the permanent opening of the Rafah border crossing will ease the Israeli siege on the suffering Gazans.

Egypt's Ambassador to the West Bank Yasser Othman said that by opening the crossing, 70 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip will be able to cross into Egypt without visa or security permission, a Press TV correspondent reported from Gaza.

"The new move Egypt has approved will end Gaza's siege," Othman said, adding that the crossing is scheduled to be opened on Saturday.

However, the Press TV correspondent said that “This does not mean that the complete blockade will be lifted.”

This is only lifting a part of the blockade, he said, adding that, “We still have commercial crossings, other entries are closed, the marine blockade by the Israeli navy, and we also have the air blockade.”

“It is very important that the people realize this is not lifting the blockade,” he further explained.

“This is the first step of lifting the blockade,” as people can cross the border for medical purposes, education and even travel to other countries, seeking jobs,” he went on to say.

Once the crossing opens, people between 18 and 40 will require security clearance to pass, he added.

Ties have improved with the Hamas government in Gaza since the fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and formation of the new government in Cairo, he went on to say.

The United Nations has called the Israeli siege illegal and has repeatedly demanded that it be lifted.

The border has remained largely closed since June 2007, when Israel imposed a tight blockade on the Gaza Strip.

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