Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip for three days starting Saturday, after the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group handed over administrative control of the checkpoint to the Palestinian Authority (PA) earlier this month.
Hamas’ move was part of the implementation of its Palestinian reconciliation deal with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party.
The terror group removed its forces from Rafah, and now PA security forces stand guard with a framed portrait of Abbas hanging on the crossing’s gates adjacent to a portrait of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Egypt’s government played a central role in mediating the recent reconciliation pact between the rival Palestinian factions, and is expected to arbitrate additional talks in Cairo during the coming weeks regarding the expansion of the PA’s rule in Gaza.
The Palestinian unity deal, announced in October, will see Fatah end sanctions on Hamas in return for allowing the PA to regain full control of Gaza by Dec. 1. The Israeli government reacted to the unity deal by calling for Hamas to disarm and recognize Israel.
Additionally, Israel called on Hamas to release the two Israeli civilians the terrorist organization is believed to be holding captive — Avera Mengistu and Hisham al-Sayed — and to return the remains of fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.