Rafah Crossing


Rafah Crossing
   Since Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip (August 2005), this is a major international crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border; it is known as the "international gateway to Gaza." Subject to a 15 November 2005 accord brokered by United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) agreed that the Rafah Crossing would be used for the movement of people and goods through the Gaza-Egypt border. Rafah would be operated by the PA on its side, and Egypt on its side, according to international standards. The European Union would monitor activities at the crossing, especially on the Palestinian side, to ensure adherence to those international standards and maintain close and real-time liaison with Israel to address security concerns. Specifically, Israel sought assurances that illegal weapons and terrorists would not be permitted to travel through the crossing and that steps would be taken to halt terrorists' efforts to transfer weapons and materiel from Egypt-Sinai to Gaza through tunnels underneath the Rafah Crossing.
   Prior to Israel's disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the Rafah Crossing was a major point of daily engagement for Israelis and Palestinians. Initially established following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 to stimulate commercial interaction involving Israelis and Palestinians, the crossing was closed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) after Palestinian terror attacks, often for lengthy periods. Israeli personnel at Rafah were increasingly targeted by suicide bombers and other terrorists. In addition, the terrorists' use of the nearby Rafah refugee camp as a base for the tunneling of weapons and materiel from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza caused it to be among the principal targets of IDF counterterror activities, such as Operation Rainbow.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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