Egypt Set To Open Gaza/Egypt Border Permanently

Here is a clear sign that the US and Israel have failed to understand that the region is going through important changes that demand a change in policy.  Egypt’s announcement is an indication that whatever happens in the upcoming elections, its relationship with the Palestinians will be more robust than what existed under Mubarak.

Faced with this fact, the US and Israel has two simple options: (1) solve the conflict by accepting a two-state solution immediately and join in the regional change in a constructive way or (2) dig their heels in the sand, reject peace and regional integration, and embrace a new era of conflict.

Haaretz:  Egypt’s foreign minister said in an interview with Al-Jazeera on Thursday that preparations were underway to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil al-Arabi told Al-Jazeera that within seven to 10 days, steps will be taken in order to alleviate the “blockade and suffering of the Palestinian nation.”

The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt’s uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007. The policy also aims to reduce Hamas’ popularity among Gazans by creating economic hardship in the Strip.

Rafah’s opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn’t get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.

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