Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Gaza scholars ask Egypt to end siege

Ma’an News Agency, Feb 14, 2011 
 
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — A group of well respected religious scholars in Gaza City congratulated the Egyptian people on “ending the tyranny and injustice” of the nation’s former president, and called on the new leadership to continue the trend by opening the Rafah crossing.

Calling themselves the Palestinian Scholars Association, the group issued a statement on Sunday, two days after former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced his stepping down from power.

“The scholars of Palestine have followed closely the developments of the Egyptian revolution,” the statement said, adding that the group believed the new Egyptian cabinet and the military council could make “serious changes for the better,” and said they hoped that one of the changes would be to the policy of closure at the Rafah crossing.

Closed in 2006 after the Palestinian Authority was ousted from power, the crossing remained sealed for two years, after which it was opened for four days every four months to allow students, patients and international passport holders in and out of the coastal enclave. In June, the crossing was opened permanently, but travelers still had to have officials permission to leave the Strip.

The closure of Rafah followed only a few months after Israel began imposing restrictions at its crossing points with Gaza, in the wake of the capture of an Israeli soldier by resistance factions.

Closures and openings at Rafah have been seen to be coordinated with Israel, and accusations against the Mubarak regime for collaboration have frequently been launched.
With a new leadership barely in Place, the association of scholars urged a quick reconsideration of the crossings closure policy.
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