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Palestinians, Europeans support reopening Rafah crossing

Palestinian factions, including Hamas, and the European Union have expressed support for reopening the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border with the return of the Palestinian Presidential Guard and EU observers to oversee the movement of people and goods.
People, hoping to cross into Egypt, stand behind a gate as they wait at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the southern Gaza Strip  August 5, 2014. Israel pulled its ground forces out of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and began a 72-hour truce with Hamas mediated by Egypt as a first step towards negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war. Gaza officials say the war has killed 1,834 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since figh

One word has been missing from the Egyptian-sponsored indirect Palestinian-Israeli talks and the various leaks about them: Rafah. The town along the Gaza-Egyptian border has become synonymous with some of the worst examples of Arabs' indirect contribution to the illegal siege on the Gaza Strip.

To be fair, Rafah is only one of six land crossings between Gaza and the rest of the world. All the others are controlled by Israel. Rafah was created as a passenger-only crossing, but the reasons for prohibiting the movement of goods there have to do with the larger Palestinian-Israeli conflict. If Rafah becomes an international border crossing for the movement of goods as well as people, it would weaken the pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Gaza and allow the movement of goods between Gaza and the West Bank.

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