Egypt allows freer entry for Palestinians

Egypt allows freer entry for Palestinians
Published:  26 Jul at 9 AM
Egypt is allowing Palestinians freer temporary entry into the country in a move that eases travel restrictions that have been imposed for many years, particularly on Gazans, said Egyptian and Palestinian officials.

But the decision has led to confusion among security agencies and seemed to bring a certain level of resistance. Some officers at Egyptian airports would not implement the measures in an indication of how concerned the security forces are about Palestinians being a potential threat.

However, although some officials initially refused to comply, airport officials revealed that seven Gazans were allowed to enter Egypt on Monday without the normal restrictions. The changes have been viewed as a gesture to the long-suffering Palestinians on the back of meetings between the new president of Egypt Mohammed Morsi, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal last week.

The new measures are set to ease the situation for Gazans, who have had to endure a five-year blockade by Israel that kept them confined to their tiny area of land. The only way out of the strip except through Israel is through Egypt, but Cairo has assisted the blockade for years. Even after the border crossing was officially opened by Egypt, it imposed heavy restrictions.

The new measures will, however, allow Palestinians to freely cross to Egypt and stay for up to 72 hours. They came into effect on Monday and surprised a number of security agencies before a formal announcement later in the day.