Hamas: No Need for Int’l Observers at Rafah

Palestinians have proven they are capable of operating the Gaza side of Egypt’s Rafah crossing, leading Hamas figure Ghazi Hamad told local radio on Sunday night, adding there was "no need for foreign observers."

Speaking with Ma’an after the announcement, Fatah official Saeb Erekat hinted that the mechanisms for crossing operations could change in the days and weeks after a unified Palestinian government is announced.

Egypt opened the Rafah crossing with Gaza on 28 April, allowing near unfettered access to and from the coastal enclave for the first time in four years. While the EU and Palestinian Authority had signed a 2005 deal governing movement and access for Gaza which would have seen European observers installed there, the agreement was not activated last week.

Hamad said that Hamas was capable of running the terminal from the Gaza side, and that there was no need for foreign intervention.

Erekat, however, noted that the issue of international forces at the crossing would likely be discussed by the new technocrat Palestinian Authority government, expected to be appointed on 6 June.

"Right now, we will not go into details of who has to be present at the crossing, we are waiting for the formation of the government and then we will discuss international commitments," Erekat said.

The government will be the first in four years to reunite the West Bank and Gaza under a single political system. One of the elements of the new body’s mandate will be the reconstruction of Gaza.

(Maan News)

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