PA rejects offer to control Rafah border crossing – report

The PA said it would only consider such an offer as part of an agreement to establish a Palestinian State.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

The Palestinian Authority has rejected an offer to control the Rafah crossing, according to Sky News Arabic.

Israel made the offer after being pressured by the United States to open the Rafah crossing and give the PA control over it.

The PA said it would only consider such an offer as part of an agreement to establish a Palestinian State, something Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected.

The United States urged Israel to make this offer to the PA to facilitate the transfer of goods and people in and out of Gaza.

Last week, there were reports that Majid Faraj, head of intelligence for the PA, was considering Israel’s offer but was urged by Hussein al-Sheikh, the PA official responsible for civil affairs, to reject the offer and instead insist on Palestinian sovereignty.

al-Sheikh declared that the PA “rejects in any form guardianship of the Rafah Crossing and attempts to harm Palestinian sovereignty over it in cooperation with Egypt.”

In addition, Egypt has also refused to coordinate with Israel concerning transferring humanitarian aid and supplies to Gaza.

Egyptian officials have warned that Israel’s operation in Rafah could put the 45-year-old peace treaty between the countries at risk.

Cairo has lodged formal protests with Israel, the United States, and European governments following the Israel Defense Forces’ invasion of eastern Rafah, which was launched last week, AP reported on Sunday.

Egypt also has said it would join South Africa in its lawsuit against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

Egyptian officials said they made this decision because of the “worsening severity and scope of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, and the continued perpetration of systematic practices against the Palestinian people, including direct targeting of civilians and the destruction of infrastructure in the Strip, and pushing Palestinians to flee.”

Israel’s War Cabinet on May 6 decided to “continue the operation in Rafah to exert military pressure on Hamas in order to promote the release of our hostages and the other goals of the war.”