Palestine

Abbas rapped for backing Rafah closure

mehaood abbasA senior Hamas official has censured the acting Palestinian Authority (PA) chief, Mahmoud Abbas for his supporting a recent decision by Egypt to close the tunnels leading to the Israel-besieged Gaza Strip,
We assert that the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt are there…to circumvent the Israeli blockade, which, for several years, has caused a humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” Salah al-Bardawil said in a press conference in Gaza City on Sunday.

“We also condemn the statements that were issued by some officials in the Palestinian Authority regarding the tunnels,” he added, referring to the remarks, made by Abbas.

On August 5, unknown gunmen killed 16 border security guards and injured several others in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula near the border with the Occupied Territories.

Egypt closed the Rafah crossing, the only passageway connecting Gaza to the rest of the world, located in the south of the coastal sliver, and the tunnels running under the country’s border with the besieged Palestinian territory following the attack.

On August 9, the democratically-elected Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to “open the Rafah crossing to regain a lifeline for Gaza.”

“Gaza could never be anything, but a source of stability for Egypt,” Haniyeh added.

Egyptian officials initially claimed that Palestinians had been involved in the Sinai attack.

The Palestinian premier, however, said, “Neither our investigations nor our contacts have proven so far anyone from Gaza was involved.”

The Gaza Strip has been blockaded by Israel since 2007, a situation, which has caused a decline in the standards of living, and has triggered unprecedented levels of unemployment and unrelenting poverty.

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