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Egypt’s Sisi, “alleviate the burdens of brothers in Gaza” set to open border

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Palestinians wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip December 16, 2017 - REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
By Middle East Affairs 

In the Ramadan spirit, Egypt has opened Rafah’s border, the only crossing outside of Israel for the holy month.

This will be the longest opening in years, as Egypt has repeatedly cited security risks for keeping it open for longer than a few days at a time.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had a change of heart after Israeli forces killed 62 Palestinians in one day, during their day of Nakbah, which signifies 70 years of being refugees, without a right to their ancestral lands.

He wrote on his Twitter, Rafah, Palestine’s only crossing outside of Israel, and its most important will be open “to alleviate the suffering of brothers in Gaza.”

Egypt plays an important role in the region’s politics because it maintains ties to both Israel and Palestine’s Hamas movement. This makes it a likely mediator to ease tensions between the two and alleviate the occupation of 2 million residents in Gaza.

The Rafah crossing has remained largely closed after attacks rose on Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula in 2013. Egypt blamed some of the attacks on Hamas militants.

 

People wait for travel permits to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip on February 21, 2018. Mohammed Salem / Reuters

 

Hamas controlled Gaza handed its control of Rafah’s crossing with Egypt to its opponent the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank, in a resolution mediated and signed in Cairo.

A girl sleeps on a suitcase as she waits with her family for a travel permit to cross into Egypt through the Rafah border crossing after it was opened by Egyptian authorities for humanitarian cases, in the southern Gaza Strip February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa