Report: Egypt Easing Conditions at Rafah Crossing to Keep Gazan Groups Quiet

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas guard at the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip, on Oct. 3. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Senior officials in the Egyptian intelligence apparatus have begun preparing to ease conditions at the Rafah border crossing, which has been a key demand of the terrorist organizations based in the Gaza Strip, the newspaper Al-Araby al-Jadeed reported Saturday.

The Egyptian gesture is reportedly an attempt to pacify the Gaza-based terrorist groups and prevent an escalation of violence after Hamas and other organizations recently declared their displeasure with what they described as Israel “dragging out” talks and Egypt “delaying” the changes it promised to make in the wake of Operation Guardian of the Walls in May.

According to the sources, Egypt will put the company Hala in charge of operating the Rafah crossing. Hala will shuttle Gazan travelers to and from the crossing.

The sources also said that Hala would provide shuttle services on an exclusive basis. The company is part of a group owned by Sinai-based businessman Ibrahim al-Arjani, who is identified with the Egyptian intelligence establishment. The company also participated in rebuilding structures destroyed in Gaza during Guardian of the Walls.

The report also said that Egypt had emphasized to the Israeli government that there was a need to take action on the issue of Palestinian security prisoners incarcerated in Israel, and asked that Israel increase the number of work permits for Palestinians, which currently stands at 10,000.