(Photo:Maan News Agency)
(Photo: Maan News Agency)

Gaza, 1 Rabi’ul Akhir 1437/January 11, 2016 (MINA) – A meeting was held Sunday, (1/10) between Hamas and a committee of Palestinian political factions regarding ongoing efforts towards reopening the Rafah crossing with Egypt.

A Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) politburo member present at the meeting, Talal Abu Tharifah, told Ma’an that a recently-proposed initiative to end the closure was examined and that all parties agreed to meet again on the matter.

Abu Tharifah said that the Palestinian Authority had formed the committee of Palestinian factions, who urged Hamas to agree to the initiative because “time is not on the Palestinians’ side.”

The Rafah crossing on the besieged enclave’s southern border with Egypt was sealed indefinitely by Egyptian authorities when violence erupted after Muhammad Morsi was thrown from power in the summer of 2013, Maan News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

The crossing has been almost entirely sealed since, opened just under 40 days since October 2014 according to documentation by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who took power from Morsi, accuses the Hamas movement which governs the Gaza Strip of aiding militants in the neighboring Sinai Peninsula in carrying out attacks on Egyptian military personnel, allegations that Hamas has denied.

The closure has further devastated Gaza’s more than 1.8 million Palestinian residents for whom the crossing served a lifeline amid Israel’s nine-year military blockade of the strip.

The initiative proposed to Hamas was reportedly intended to foster unity among Palestinian factions before proposing an agreement to Egypt to for reopening the crossing.

Abu Tharifah told Ma’an that the initiative would require that the unity government take full control of the crossing, that a highly qualified team oversees the administrative side of the crossing, and that Presidential guards take responsibility for security on the crossing.

It also proposes that monetary returns from the crossing go towards improving its facilities and support development projects in Gaza Strip.

Spokesman for the Hamas movement Sami Abu Zuhri said in response to the meeting that Hamas welcomed the factions and the government living up to their responsibilities in Gaza, adding that the meeting was “serious and candid.”

The unity government-based initiative comes as rivals Hamas and Fatah have repeatedly failed to form a functioning unity government since their split between the Gaza Strip and West Bank respectively in 2007. (T/Imt/R04)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)