Arabs at Rafiah crossing
Arabs at Rafiah crossingIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Egypt says it will permanently open the Rafiah Crossing that straddles its border with Gaza by the end of this week.

The interim government, run by the Egyptian Military Council, announced Wednesday the border crossing will be open starting Saturday every day from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  It will be closed on Fridays and holidays, according to Egypt's state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA).

All crossings into the region have been closed since the Hamas terrorist organization seized control over Gaza in June 2007 following a civil war with the Fatah faction. The rival Fatah faction, which was driven from Gaza after the conflict, still heads the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.

Egypt's decision to permanently open the Rafiah crossing constitutes a direct violation of the 2005 agreement between Israel, Egypt, the United States and the European Union that was supposed to ensure Israel's security after then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to expel all Israelis from the region and withdraw all IDF troops.

The European Union deployed observers at the crossing, but they fled at the first sign of trouble, despite their mandate to prevent weapons and terrorists from entering Gaza.