Hamas urges Egypt to ease Gaza closure from its side

GAZA, Oct. 29 – Hamas on Wednesday called on Egypt to open its border with Gaza Strip to allow movement of people in and out of Gaza Strip. Hamas made the call in the wake of the arrival of international pro-Palestinian activists into Gaza Strip in a voyage that was intended to challenge the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory.

“The anchoring of the ‘Hope Boat’, which intends to break the siege, requires an Egyptian response to the suffering of Gaza Strip residents by opening Rafah crossing point,” said Fawzi Barhoum, spokesman for Hamas in Gaza.

Hamas won parliamentary elections in 2006 and Israel responded by imposing restrictions on Gaza strip where Hamas’ leadership is based. A year later, Egypt and Israel maintained and tightened the closure after Hamas took over security installations in Gaza Stripby force.

In August this year, a U.S.-based movement called “Free Gaza” chartered two boats to Gaza Strip, carrying medical supplies and 46 human rights defenders, journalists, peace activists and lawmakers. Israel allowed the ships to dock at Gaza harbor.

Earlier on Tuesday, another boat succeeded to arrive into Gaza as Israel retreated a decision to prevent it from entering Gaza waters.

“We highly appreciate efforts by the Arab and foreign activists in solidarity,” Barhoum said. “Their success proves that the siege can be overcome if Arab officials have had the effective will.”

Hamas also criticized Egypt for preventing Egyptian campaigners and Arab parliamentarians from trying to reach Gaza Strip through its territories.

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