Egypt reopens Rafah border crossing, allows import of cars into Gaza for first time in 3 years

by WorldTribune Staff, December 18, 2016

Egypt has for the first time under President Abdul Fatah Sisi allowed the import of cars to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing.

“This is the first time Egypt has permitted the import of new cars since the President Mohammed Morsi era,” a Palestinian official told The Jerusalem Post, adding that Egypt also allowed the import of a handful of cement and firewood trucks since it reopened the border crossing on Dec. 17.

Rafah border crossing. /AFP
Rafah border crossing. /AFP

Sisi has heavily limited the number of goods and people entering the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing since he became president in 2013.

Sisi has also cracked down on smuggling tunnels between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, demolishing and flooding hundreds of them.

Maher Tabaa, the head of public relations at the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, told the Post that the current level of imports from Egypt to the Gaza Strip is insufficient.

“The total amount of imports in 2015 from Egypt to Gaza was $67 million. Considering the historic and neighborly relations between Egypt and Gaza, that amount is not suitable,” Tabaa said.

Gaza, to which Israel also limits the entry of goods and people, is in the midst of an economic crisis with unemployment at 42 percent.

Meanwhile, the son of former Al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was denied entry into Egypt on Dec. 17, security officials at Cairo International Airport.

Omar bin Laden and his wife arrived from Qatar but were deported to Turkey after security officials checking details of his Saudi passport found his name on a list of those banned from entering Egypt.