Gaza is not living in political isolation and its communications with Arab and international parties have not stopped, a spokesman for the Hamas-led Palestinian government has insisted. Dr Bassem Naim said on Wednesday that many foreign delegations are visiting the Gaza Strip despite the closure of the Rafah border crossing.
The foreign relations advisor to the Palestinian prime minister in Gaza said that although the Strip has gone through difficult times, the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing is not completely closed and there are foreign visitors who enter the territory through there from Israel. "We are also taking advantage of the new communication media and information technology, through which we communicate with several officials and bodies," he added, although he stressed that this should not be seen as an alternative to the Rafah crossing.
"An open border at Rafah makes it easier for delegations, the absence of which has had a negative impact on Gaza," he said. "Nevertheless, we are contacting Arab and international bodies to inform them about the situation in the Gaza Strip and the effect of the blockade, as well as the conditions of the Rafah crossing so that they can help us to solve the closure crisis."
Dr Naim was also at pains to stress that the responsibility for the blockade and its consequences rests with the Israeli occupation authorities. "That is the official position according to international law and human rights legislation; Israel is responsible for the reality of life in the Gaza Strip, albeit, and unfortunately, with cooperation and cover from some Arab and other countries."
He pointed out that contacts with the Egyptians have never stopped, particularly with the head of the General Intelligence Service, as that is responsible for the Palestinian portfolio in the government, including Gaza and its problems.
"These communications have been fruitful, especially with the Rafah crossing being opened every now and again, and we are looking forward to better conditions, possibilities and results from such discussions." The "breakthrough" of an open border for people and goods has not been achieved, he said, and the ongoing closure of the Rafah border has affected all aspects of life in Gaza.