Hamas delegation discuss the Rafah crossing with Egyptians
|Friday, February 15,2008 15:14|
Palestinian sources close to Hamas Movement have affirmed on Thursday that a delegation from the Movement met Egyptian officials at the Egyptian city of Al-Arish to discuss the issue of the crossing point of Rafah as well as other important issues of concern to both parties.
According to the sources, the Palestinian delegation was headed by Hamas" prominent political leader MP Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahhar, and met with an Egyptian security delegation headed by Lt. Gen Mohammed Ibrahim where they discussed the possibility of opening the Rafah terminal point and allowing goods and people to pass through it.
The Hamas Movement stressed that it will not allow the Rafah crossing to be administered in accordance with the infamous crossings deal that was signed by Fatah man Mohammed Dahalan in 2005, and gave the Israelis indirect control over the terminal through the European observers. The Movement also affirmed that the deal had expired months ago.
In addition, the sources added, the two delegations discussed the issue of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was captured by Palestinian resistance nearly two years ago. The Hamas delegation conveyed the Palestinian resistance demands for releasing him prior to the anticipated visit of Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief, to the Hebrew state.
In the past, captors of Shalit expressed readiness to swap him with Palestinian children and women detained in Israeli jails. Many international human rights and legal organizations considered the Palestinian demands as "humanitarian", however, Israel rejected the initiative.
The two parties also discussed the issue of the Palestinian citizens who were arrested by the Egyptian security forces after Palestinian citizens were forced to demolish parts of the border wall that separates the Gaza Strip from Egypt two weeks ago after Israel cut off food and electricity supplies to the Strip.
According the sources, the Egyptian authorities promised to release the detainees within the coming few days.
The Palestinian delegation also briefed in details their Egyptian partners on the current social and living conditions in the populated Gaza Strip were nearly 1.5 million Palestinian citizens are living and had been under crushing economic sanctions imposed by the Israeli occupation government for the past two years.
The Israeli economic blockade dramatically intensified over the past eight months.
Amongst the issues discussed in the meeting was the issue of Tahde"a (truce) and the Hamas delegation explained the position of their movement on this issue.
Furthermore, the two delegations agreed to form a joint committee that would tackle and discuss all unresolved issues, the sources pointed out, adding that contacts between Hamas and Egypt were continuing.
A number of Egyptian newspapers unhappy with Hamas"s control of Gaza Strip in addition to media outlets affiliated with Fatah faction spread rumors that Egypt was at odds with Hamas Movement over the demolishing of the wall; yet the latest meeting proved that those reports were false and unauthenticated.