Egypt has decided on Friday to open the main gate of the Rafah border crossing so that buses carrying patients and students from Gaza could move to and from Egypt.
According to state-run news agency MENA, the border crossing will be opened in order to transfer Palestinian patients, students, and carriers of foreign stay permits to Egypt. The opening process will be administered by Egyptian and Palestinian authorities.
Egyptian authorities have, for the most part, kept the Rafah border crossing closed since July 2013. They had launched a campaign to destroy illegal underground tunnels, which have been vital in supplying Gazan residents with food, medicine, fuel, and building materials.
In October, Hamas and Fatah signed an agreement at the Egyptian General Intelligence Service headquarters in Cairo and agreed to proceed with further meetings between factions to plan presidential and legislative elections.
Later in September, Hamas announced dissolving its administrative committee in the Gaza Strip in order to end the escalation with Fatah, to which President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas belongs. According to the agreement, Hamas should allow the reconciliation government to carry out its duties in the 360 sqm strip.
However, the efforts of reconciliation seem to have stopped after the decision of American President Donald Trump to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, leading to Egyptian mediation delegates from the General Intelligence to return from Gaza to Egypt after they were supposed to complete talks with Hamas and Fatah.
Prior to 2013, Hamas had strong ties with Egypt, as it had good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood group in Egypt. However, the relationship grew tense following the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi.
The border was then permanently closed on 24 October 2014, following attacks on the Qarm Al-Qawadis checkpoint by the militant group “Sinai Province”. The attack resulted in the deaths of at least 33 military personnel. Since then, the crossing has been opened only in exceptional cases and for short periods of time.