Hamas began handing control over the Gaza Strip’s border crossings with Israel and Egypt to Palestinian National Authority on November 1 under an agreement brokered by Cairo.
The Palestinian National Authority said in a statement that the Palestinian government in Ramallah, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is now responsible for the border crossings.
The Palestinian National Authority employees moved into Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings on the Israeli border and Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border, as their Hamas counterparts packed up equipment and departed on trucks, The Jerusalem Post reported.
The next stage will be for Hamas to grant the Palestinian National Authority full control of all the government ministries in Gaza, and at a later stage, the security forces will be unified.
The Palestinian National Authority will begin operating the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings immediately, officials said, while in Rafah the operation will await further security arrangements such as deploying a force from Abbas’s presidential guards and Cairo completing innovations on its side of the facility.
This follows the the conclusion of the reconciliation deal between Hamas and Palestinian National Authority in October, with complete handover of administrative control of the Gaza Strip to a unity government is due in December. The factions involved in the reconciliation agreement are to meet on November 21 in Cairo to continue discussing the establishment of a national unity government or a government agreed on by both sides that will move ahead on elections in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israel will maintain high alert along the Gaza border for at least another few days, following the bombing of the Gaza-Israel tunnel, where at least eight of Palestinians died, according to Haaretz. Egypt is cited as the main reason for Palestinian restraint at the moment.