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Egypt announces deal to reopen Rafah crossing, but when will it actually open?

Despite the fact that opening the Rafah crossing is an urgent humanitarian need for Gaza residents, it remains subject to political considerations associated with the quarreling factions: Hamas and Fatah.
A Palestinian woman sits in front of the gate of Rafah border crossing as she waits for a travel permit to cross into Egypt, in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip June 14, 2015. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Saturday to allow Palestinians to travel in and out of the Gaza Strip for the first time in three months, in a possible sign of easing tension between Cairo and Gaza's dominant Islamist Hamas movement. Gaza, a small impoverished coastal enclave, is under blockade by neighbouring Israel, and Eg
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GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Azzam al-Ahmad, member of Fatah’s Central Committee, said in a press statement on Nov. 18 that an agreement has been reached with Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing in the next few days for passengers and goods according to new arrangements. This raised questions among Hamas officials, as the movement controls the crossing and has repeatedly insisted it will not hand it over to the Palestinian Authority (PA) unless it is part of the crossing management.

Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities have kept the crossing almost totally closed since July 2013 given the security tension in the Sinai Peninsula, opening it only for a few short days to allow the passage of humanitarian cases. This was confirmed by the Ministry of Interior’s website, which reported that, since the beginning of 2015, it was open for only 19 days. 

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