Palestinian sources on Sunday morning categorically denied reports claiming that the Palestinian national consensus government would begin taking charge of crossings between Israel and Gaza beginning Sunday, raising doubts regarding the promised opening of the border.
Director of Gaza crossings Mahir Abu Sabha and undersecretary of the former Hamas-run Gaza ministry of interior Kamil Abu Madhi told Ma’an on Sunday that the unity government would not take charge of crossings Sunday.
A source close to the matter confirmed to Ma’an: “No changes at all have been made to the Palestinian teams operating border crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip.”
Their remarks directly contradict a statement by the deputy prime minister of the national consensus government Muhammad Mustafa, who on Friday told reporters that his government would assume control of Gaza crossings Sunday.
According to the terms of an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians that ended a 50-day Israeli assault over the summer, the Israeli blockade would be “eased” and all materials entering the Gaza Strip would be checked by Palestinian Authority crews to ensure no weapons enter Gaza.
The agreement’s implementation, however, has been so far frustrated, with no clear timeline nor certainty regarding the exact details of the end of the siege and the beginning of reconstruction.
Israel has for the last eight years severely restricted all imports and exports in Gaza, including basic supplies such as concrete.
Gazans have been almost completely restricted from entering Israel since the beginning of the siege in 2006, but before that could apply for permits for work or tourism similar to West Bank Palestinians.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)