GAZA – The Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) rejected on Wednesday a US-brokered agreement reached between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel on Gaza border crossings.
The two groups said in two separate statements that the agreement reached under the sponsorship of the United States has harmed the Palestinian sovereignty and despised the Palestinian dignity.
Hamas condemned the PNA’s approval of the agreement that was reached on Tuesday after intense mediation by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
“The Israelis have the ability to observe the Palestinians or any visitors via the Rafah crossing through cameras and through the joint control room,” the Hamas statement said…
Jihad also rebuked the US for interfering into the Gaza border issue for the sake of Israel while neglecting other important issues such as the Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and the building of a separation barrier.
Under the deal, the key Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt borderwill be re-opened as of Nov. 25 under the presence of European Union security monitors. All Palestinian identification card holders can travel through the crossing in both directions.
The Rafah crossing is the only exit for Palestinians living in Gaza to travel abroad. The terminal has remained closed since Israel withdrew from the entire strip in September.
Fearing that the Rafah crossing might be used by Palestinian militants to smuggle weapons, Israel had insisted on monitoring goods and people through the terminal, but Palestinians asserted that no Israelis should be at Rafah.
The two sides finally reached a compromise that Israeli and Palestinian security officers will co-monitor the traffic at Rafah by remote-control cameras in a control room a few kilometers away from the crossing.
Meanwhile, the agreement says a seaport can be constructed in Gaza, the Karni crossing on the eastern Gaza border will be expanded and that Palestinians can travel between Gaza and the West Bank in bus and truck convoys within months.