625 of 6,000 stranded at Rafah crossing to be transported to Gaza on Monday; Hamas objects

Rafah – Ma’an – Palestinian sources on Saturday stated that coordination between Egyptian and Palestinian officials over forming lists of names of people stranded at the Rafah crossing has begun, in order to start returning the Palestinians there to the Gaza Strip.

The sources stated that a list of 625 names, out of some 6,000 reported to be stuck at the crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, has been approved to travel back to Gaza through the Awja route, which crosses into Israel from the Sinai, then enters the Gaza Strip through the northerly Erez crossing.

The northern Sinai district officials informed Palestinians at the Rafah crossing that their crisis “is about to come to an end”, and that all of them will leave to the Gaza Strip in several groups. They will be traveling in buses, accompanied by official delegations from the Red Cross.

It is reported that a second list will be announced next Tuesday.

This significant step came after Israeli authorities allowed 19 UNRWA employees to return to the Gaza Strip.

Hamas’ objection

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri labeled the use of any crossing besides Rafah, including Kerem Shalom and Erez, a continuation of a policy of occupation. Abu Zuhri accused the Fatah-dominated caretaker government, under Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of “playing an immoral role in using the suffering of the Palestinians stranded at the crossing.

“He continued: “Reopening other crossings means turning the Strip into a huge prison and putting it again under Israeli occupation control, and it also it means that Palestinians will not be able to return to the strip because of the dangers they are face if they have to return through Israeli crossings.”

Abu Zuhri also lashed out at the Fayyad government because of action taken by the Fatah-led Palestinian delegation to the United Nations to block a security council resolution expressing concern for the growing humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

He said the move to block the resolution “reflects the nature of the role which Fayyad’s Government and the Palestinian Authority leadership play in keeping the siege imposed on the Palestinian people, serving an outside agenda and achieving factional and political goals.”
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