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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Israel, Egypt blamed for closure of Rafah

Wed, 25 Mar 2009 18:38:54 GMT | PressTV

Two Israeli human rights groups have blamed Tel Aviv and Cairo for violating Palestinians' rights by preventing them from crossing into Egypt.

Palestinians, under a crippling Israeli imposed blockade since 2007, attempt to cross into Egypt via Rafah to import food, medicines and other vital supplies.

While considering Israel as the main party to blame, Gisha and Physicians for Human Rights in a joint statement on Wednesday, also accused Hamas and Palestinian Authority of having roles in preventing residents of Gaza from crossing into Egypt.

According to the statement, Tel Aviv "maintains substantial and indirect control over Rafah crossing" and pressures Egypt to make sure that the border-crossing remains closed at all times.

Egypt, for its part, refuses to open Rafah "due to pressure from Israel and other parties and also to advance its own agenda not to recognize the Hamas government (in Gaza) and prevent ties between Hamas and opposition elements in Egyptian society", the statement added.

It also cites that the dispute between Hamas, the democratically-elected ruler of Gaza, and the Palestinian Authority over control of the crossing as one of the reasons that has kept the crossing, which is the only one that bypasses Israel, closed.

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