Palestinian Authority removes staff from Gaza-Egypt crossing

The Palestinian Authority (PA) says it is pulling its staff out of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, effectively closing the main exit point from the coastal territory.

A statement accused the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, of harassing and detaining PA employees.

Hamas said the move amounted to “additional sanctions” on the people of Gaza by the West Bank-based PA.

The PA took control of the crossing in 2017 as part of a reconciliation deal.

The agreement, which was brokered by Egypt, aimed to end a decade-long split between Hamas and its secular rival, Fatah, which dominates the PA. But a dispute over power-sharing has hindered its implementation.

Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank have been ruled separately since deadly clashes between Hamas and Fatah broke out in 2007.

Hamas won parliamentary elections in the occupied territories the previous year, and reinforced its power in Gaza after ousting Fatah from the enclave.

Israel and Egypt tightened their blockades of Gaza in response to the Hamas takeover and in an attempt to prevent attacks by Palestinian militants.

The PA’s civil affairs authority said on Sunday that it had sent staff to the Rafah crossing 14 months ago “to alleviate the suffering of the siege”, but that since their arrival Hamas had been “obstructing” their work.

“After Hamas’s insistence on bolstering division… and the questioning, detention and suppression of our…

Continue Reading This Article At BBC News

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