Nativity church deportees welcome election of Egypt's Mursi
Published Monday 25/06/2012 (updated) 26/06/2012 12:14
Exiled Palestinian pose for a photo in Gaza City. (MaanImages/File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A group of Palestinians exiled to the Gaza Strip after the siege on Bethlehem's Nativity Church on Monday called on the newly-elected president of Egypt to work to end the political division between Gaza and the West Bank.
The exiles say they hope Muhammad Mursi will maintain Egypt's important role in Palestinian affairs, and complete a reconciliation process between Gaza rulers Hamas and rival West Bank governors Fatah.
On May 10, 2002, Israeli forces ended a 39-day siege on the church after striking a deal with Palestinian leaders to send 39 people given sanctuary in the church to Gaza and Europe.
The deportees say they have high expectations that Mursi will work to reduce Israel's blockade on the Gaza Strip, and defend the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of exiles to return to their homes.
Meanwhile, Gaza Interior Ministry undersecretary Kamel Abu Madi added his congratulation to Mursi, who was announced as victor in Egypt's first democratic presidential election on Sunday.
Mursi assuming the presidency is a defining moment in the history of the Palestinian cause, and for Egypt to regain its leading role in international affairs, he said.
Abu Madi said he had confidence Mursi would support Palestinians by improving freedom to travel through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, Gaza's sole open passenger terminal and thus gateway to the outside world.