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Report: Egypt ends visa restrictions for Palestinians
Published Monday 23/07/2012 (updated) 24/07/2012 22:23
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Palestinians carry trays of sweets and an Egyptian flag in front of
placard depicting Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate
Muhammad Mursi in Gaza City June 18, 2012.REUTERS/Ahmed Zakot
NEW YORK (Ma’an) -- Egyptian officials announced Monday that Palestinians will no longer need visas to enter the country, ending part of a five-year blockade on the Gaza Strip, The Associated Press reported.

Gazans will now be able to leave the coastal enclave freely. The decision also applies to Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Officials at Cairo's airport said they have received instructions to allow Palestinians of all ages to enter Egypt without any procedural impediments.

Deportation rulings for Gazans in Egypt were also canceled, sources told AP.

Security sources told Ma’an that Egyptian authorities were worried about opening the Rafah crossing for Palestinians due to the unstable security situation in the Sinai peninsula.

A Palestinian border official at Rafah told Ma'an that the Egyptian side has not informed them of any new arrangements or regulations.

Ayyoub Abu Shaar told Ma'an that 800-1000 passengers leave Gaza via Rafah everyday. According to regulations, which he says are still in place, men aged between 18-40 require a visa to cross into Egypt.

No formal announcement was made by Egypt's government.

In March, a spokesman for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood said that opening the border with Gaza was a priority for the group.

"I want the crossing to open completely, so that whoever wants to travel from Gaza can come to Egypt," said Mahmoud Ghozlan.

"We support opening the crossing for import and export."

Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas's Gaza government said recently that he was confident Egypt's new president Muhammad Mursi would shield the coastal enclave from Israeli attack and fully open its borders to end a trade blockade.

The Gazan Islamists long complained that his predecessor Hosni Mubarak, ousted from power last year in a popular revolt, sided not just with Israel, but also with their political rival -- President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah movement.

Israel tightened a land and sea blockade on Gaza in 2007 after Hamas took control of the coastal strip, restricting the movement of goods and the 1.7 million residents out of the 360 square kilometer territory.

Reuters contributed to this report
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1 ) shirley / ausatralia
23/07/2012 13:24
good news and now fuel and import export like old days and next gas from egypt and it is douhtful Mubarak side with fatah but tried to unite pals difficult with Us meddling and US Isreal demand GAZA closed mubarak did allow some movement and smuggle to keep fuela nd food US angry and junta alifted some resitictions but hoping for full end now and normal life GAZA the blockade actually started as soon ans hamas won power before start of Lebanon war congratulations pals again first piece free

2 ) CARLOS / USA
23/07/2012 14:19
I like Mursi! The begining of the end for SCAF!

3 ) Amjad Hashmi / Pak
23/07/2012 16:35
that is a good news , egypt should open all the borders for the palestinians brothers bt hamas and plo should b unite without this they canot achiev thiere goals.. we all should work for peace . we should stand against the terrarist zionists...

4 ) Filipe / Portugal
23/07/2012 17:40
Great news !!!! Now there is no reason to put put any blame on Israel for the conditions in Gaza...... any concerns for human rights or living conditions should, from here forward, be addressed to Egypt...... the creators of Gaza !!!!

5 ) Ashraf / Egypt
23/07/2012 17:44
Why would Hamas and the PLO unite, they hate each other more than the juice.

6 ) leyakat / Kashmir(India)
23/07/2012 19:55
if this news gets the official consent from Egyptian officials, then it is really good move to end the oppression of Israel to Palestinians via blockade.

7 ) imran bhat / pakistan
23/07/2012 20:09
it is joy for Gaza and lesson to israel

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
24/07/2012 00:53
Crikey, are you Maan' readers that daft? The blockade on Gaza was by Egypt and Israel. Not just by Israel. The Mubarak regime did not like Hamas, which seized power in a bloody military coup and is supported by Iran - an enemy of all the Arab peoples, not just Israel. Remember that Hamas only liked democracy once - in order to get elected, and has refused since then to hold elections. They also do not support democracy: no freedom of speech. No freedom of the press. Why do fools like Hamas?

9 ) Bravo / Spain
24/07/2012 11:47
These Arabs hate each other more than than they hate the juice. The visa restrictions continue.

10 ) @ Imran-7 / USA
24/07/2012 15:26
The "lesson" could be more for Gaza, since now it seems that
Gaza is part of Egypt again, just like it was between 1948 & 1967,
and the difficulties of providing for it have also fallen on Egypt !!
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