A foreign affairs adviser to Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has called on the Egyptian authorities to have a meeting to discuss the crisis over the border between Gaza and Egypt. Dr Bassem Naim told Al Quds TV on Saturday that Gaza is witnessing “economic stagnation” now that “the siege has been tightened” by the destruction of the tunnels and the closure of the Rafah border crossing.
The Israeli-led blockade on Gaza has been in place since 2006, but its effects have intensified since the Egyptian army started to demolish hundreds of tunnels which the Palestinians use to smuggle essential goods into the beleaguered territory, including medication and food.
Naim denied claims that Gazans or any Palestinians are involved in the current violent unrest in Sinai; such accusations, he said, are “unfounded”. Egypt’s second field commander said a few days ago that the Egyptian army “will not allow Jihadi elements in Gaza to repeat their criminal acts in Sinai again”. General Ahmed Wasfi said that the army “will punish anyone who tries to threaten the security and safety of Egypt”.
Responding to the general’s comments, Dr Naim claimed that such messages only serve Israeli interests. “They also damage the historic relationship between Palestine and Egypt,” he added.