Egypt: Arab Force in Gaza Could End Israel-Arab Conflict

Egyptian FM says an Arab multinational force could stop fighting between Hamas, Fatah. Hamas spokesman: it will never happen.

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Gil Ronen,

Egyptian FM Aboul Gheit
Egyptian FM Aboul Gheit

Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Saturday that the idea of stationing an Arab force in Gaza to solve the problem of violence between the factions there should be considered.

"The presence of an Arab force could assist in preventing the warfare and in ending the Israeli-Arab conflict," he said. "Egypt and the members of the Arab League can contribute to this matter."

Hamas was quick to reject the Egyptian's idea Saturday evening. "The idea of an Arab force in Gaza is neither just nor balanced," Hamas's spokesman in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said. "It cannot happen without the consent of all Palestinian factions and because Hamas is opposed to it, it will never happen."

1,000 Gazans Cross into Egypt at Rafiah
More than 1,000 people crossed into Egypt through the Rafiah crossing Saturday, according to Arab sources. Official Egyptian sources said the passage would remain open for two days.

The opening of the passage was meant to allow thousands of Egyptian citizens to return home after being stuck in Gaza since the Hamas coup in June 2007. In addition, hundreds of Gaza residents seeking medical care in Egypt are also reported to have crossed into Egypt.