Egypt

Egypt retains closure on Rafah border crossing

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Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip — the enclave’s only land terminal that bypasses Israel — sealed, Press TV reports.

By so doing, Cairo has left thousands of Palestinians stranded in the Israeli-blockaded coastal sliver.

Earlier this week, Egyptian authorities announced a temporary opening of the crossing for three days. But they refused to open the crossing after the kidnapping and killing of an Egyptian border control officer by Takfiri militants in the Sinai Peninsula.

Last month too, the crossing was opened for three days, allowing around 1,200 people to exit the blockaded territory.

“We have been suffering tremendously due to the closure of the crossing. Even when they open it for a number of days, it is not enough for the thousands of people, who wish to travel,” said one Palestinian.

“Those of us who manage to cross into Egypt are treated in a very bad manner by the border guards.”

Closing the Rafah crossing keeps Gaza’s population of over 1.8 million at the mercy of the Israeli-controlled crossing in northern Gaza.

Egypt has been accused by analysts of acting as Israel’s proxy in maintaining Tel Aviv’s years-long blockade.

“The Egyptian blockade of Gaza is illegal. It is against all kinds of ethics and against the international humanitarian law and it’s a collective punishment,” said political analyst Hani al-Basous.

Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, which is a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.

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