Mahmoud Abbas put pressure on Egypt to close the Rafah Border Crossing, a former Egyptian diplomat has revealed. According to Safad News Agency on Thursday, ex-Ambassador Abdullah Al-Ash’al said that the Palestinian Authority and Fatah President withdrew the PA’s own security officers from the border post in order to “embarrass” Cairo.
The PA announced on Sunday that it would withdraw its officers as from Monday. Hamas sources claim that the Egyptian authorities requested the movement to replace the PA officers with its own staff.
Furthermore, Egypt then announced that it had closed the crossing for Palestinians wanting to leave the Gaza Strip. It will remain open for those Palestinians wishing to return to the besieged territory.
Abbas withdrew his officers after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Cairo. Few details have emerged about what transpired during the meeting, although observers believe that it may have included a request from Abbas for Egypt to tighten its grip on Gaza.