CAIRO, 10 February 2021 – Egypt has opened its Rafah border that leads to the Gaza Strip, allowing passage in both directions, ahead of the first Palestinian elections in 15 years.
The announcement said the border was open for some time to allow stranded travelers to pass, adding that the border will remain open “until further notice”.
The border opening allows a return of settlers to their land and the exit of those who require it, according to the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo.
It is the only crossing that is not controlled by Israel to the coastal enclave.
The Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas but its two million inhabitants live under restrictions on the movement of people and goods imposed by the state of Israel.
Observers and diplomats in Cairo described the border opening as an incentive meant to encourage reconciliation between Palestinian factions currently meeting in Cairo to discuss election matters.
Some 15 Palestinian organizations are hoping to use their meeting in Cairo to overcome years of disagreements, and jointly outline a plan for the organization of legislative elections next May, followed by presidential elections in July 2021.
Egypt has, for 14 years, been at the center of negotiations between Fatah, who seek peace with Israel, and Hamas, whose advocacy is for continued armed struggle against Israel.