Today, Monday, preparations began for a dialogue between the Palestinian factions in Cairo, at a time when the Egyptian authorities decided to open the Rafah crossing for a period of 4 years in front of the stranded and humanitarian cases from the besieged Gaza Strip.
The Secretary of the Fatah Central Committee, Jibril Rajoub, said that the Palestinian dialogue will begin on February 8th.
Rajoub explained that the participating delegations will start arriving in the Egyptian capital on the seventh of this month.
The official Palestinian News Agency, Wafa, quoted Rajoub as saying, “We are going to the Cairo dialogue, as President Mahmoud Abbas said, with open minds, in order to reach the results that our Palestinian people wish for and serve our just cause.”
Taher Al-Nono, the media advisor to the Hamas president, said that the movement had received an official invitation to attend the Cairo dialogue sessions.
Al-Nono explained that Hamas decided that Saleh al-Arouri, deputy head of the political bureau, would lead the movement’s delegation to participate in the dialogue.
For its part, the Islamic Jihad Movement stated that a high-level delegation from its leadership will participate in the Cairo dialogue, to present its vision regarding internal political developments and ways to face the current challenges.
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine announced that it had received an Egyptian invitation to participate in the dialogue, along with all other Palestinian factions.
Palestinian elections are scheduled to take place in three phases this year: legislative on May 22, presidential on July 31, and National Council elections on August 31, according to a previous presidential decree.
It is noteworthy that the last Palestinian legislative elections were held in early 2006, and resulted in Hamas winning a majority, which was preceded by a year of presidential elections in which Abbas (the current president) won.
On another Palestinian issue, the Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip today for a period of 4 days in both directions, to enable stranded people to travel from the Strip and return to it, amid health measures to counter the outbreak of the Coronavirus.
The Ministry of Interior in the Gaza Strip said that travel will be permitted during this period for those registered with humanitarian cases and patients.
The ministry said in a statement, “This morning, several buses carrying passengers from the Gaza Strip left through the Rafah land crossing, on the first day of its exceptional opening in both directions, while the returnees’ buses arrived.”
More than 7 thousand humanitarian cases in the Gaza Strip are waiting for this procedure to be able to leave, while thousands of Palestinians in Egypt are waiting to return to their families.
According to the Palestinian Ministry, certain groups who meet the conditions of departure will be allowed to cross, foremost among them are patients who need treatment in Egypt and abroad, and students and holders of residency in foreign countries.
The Rafah crossing is the only crossing that is not controlled by Israel, and connects the besieged Gaza Strip to the outside.