First and foremost, I do want to emphasize the fact that this bit of news is a definitive positive step forward for the besieged Gazans…! However, as noted above and recently reported by Ma’an…

Report: Egypt working with Israel on Rafah policy

Egypt has explained to Israel that the Rafah crossing will not be used to transfer goods, and restrictions will be imposed on the movement of individuals, Israel radio reported Thursday.

According to political sources quoted in the report, Egyptian authorities are aware of the risk that “terrorist elements” could pass through Rafah, the sole non-Israeli entrance point, and Cairo will act accordingly.

Egypt said Wednesday it would open the crossing on a daily basis in a bid to ease the blockade.

The measure, which will come into force Saturday, will give Gazans a gateway to the world as Rafah is the only crossing which does not pass through Israel.

The frontier will now be opened for eight hours a day from 9:00 a.m., with the exception of Fridays and public holidays, Egypt’s official MENA news agency said. [...]

Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum hailed the move as “a courageous and responsible decision which falls in line with Palestinian and Egyptian public opinion.”

“We hope that it is a step towards the complete lifting of the siege on Gaza,” he said in a statement, calling on the world “to follow Egypt’s example” in breaking the Israeli blockade which has been in place since 2006.

Plans to open the crossing on a permanent basis were first announced at the end of April, a day after Hamas reached a surprise reconciliation deal with its Fatah rivals who control the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority…

The Egyptians’ promise to open Rafah provided the necessary impetus for Hamas to reconcile with Fatah and/or the various Palestinian factions…

Here’s a great analysis of What Opening Rafah Means & Doesn’t Mean…

There will undoubtedly be those trying to proclaim that life is on the up and up in Gaza now and that the siege is over. But Gaza and the siege that entraps it is immensely complicated. Ignoring the nuances of this policy and thinking that Gaza is equivalent to a solid black box that just had its lid opened is entirely misleading…

What the Opening of Rafah Does Not Mean: The siege is over … By retaining total control over the other crossings, Israel is still able to maintain its siege policy to practically the same exact extent as before the opening of Rafah. Unless Egypt and Palestine completely revamp the Rafah crossing and the infrastructure around it on both sides of the border, this is unlikely to change …

Electricity and Water: …Gaza is overwhelmingly dependent on Israel when it comes to electricity … The Blockade: …Israel enforces its illegal naval blockade at the 3-nautical mile mark (most of the fish native to Gaza’s territorial waters are beyond this mark) and when Gaza’s fishermen get too close, they get shot…
What the Opening of Rafah Does Mean: The Closing of A Dark Chapter in Egypt’s History…
…The siege of the Gaza Strip is a disgraceful policy that collectively punishes civilians in direct opposition to international humanitarian law and is an ugly scar on the conscience of the international community. Egypt, sadly, played an undeniable roll in this policy under the Mubarak regime despite the fact that most Egyptians vehemently disagreed with this policy. While the Egyptian closure of Rafah was a minor contributor to the overall effects of the siege compared to Israeli restrictions, Mubarak regime complicity was viewed as treacherous in the eyes of most in the Arab and Muslim world…

Basically, this only represents itty-bitty, baby steps towards alleviating the true hardships caused from Israel’s brutal, and illegal, siege of Gaza…

Sadly tho, Egypt’s ‘state security’ still blocks Rafah exit from Gaza…

But, to the Egyptians credit, the ‘Arab Spring’ continues to spring hope eternal…

Yesterday…

Egyptians come out for ‘day of anger’

Protesters took to the streets on Friday for nationwide rallies against the ruling military council’s handling of post-Mubarak Egypt, in a call that has exposed political rifts.

In Cairo, tens of thousands of protesters packed into Tahrir Square — the symbolic heart of protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February — for the Muslim weekly prayers. [...]

Youth groups that helped to launch the uprising posts calls on Facebook urging Egyptians to take to the streets on Friday to rally for “an end to political corruption.”

Three months after the revolt, they are frustrated by the slow pace of democratic change, and are this time directing their anger at the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

While the revolt achieved its aim of ousting Mubarak, the unelected military retains absolute power in Egypt.

Protesters want a civilian government, a new constitution, the acceleration of trials of former regime figures and their removal from top jobs in the police, universities and other public institutions.

Naturally, Israel wasn’t so accommodating for Friday’s Palestinian ‘Day of Anger’…

Israeli army shuts down ‘illegal’ Palestinian protests…

Israeli forces shut down anti-wall protests in villages across the West Bank on Friday.

The Israeli army says the unarmed weekly protests in Palestinian villages are illegal.

Asked why the protests were illegal, an army spokesman said the areas between Israel’s separation wall and villages Ni’lin and Bil’in, near Ramallah, were declared “closed military zones” every Friday between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Any civilian who entered the area was breaking Israeli law, the army official said,

Palestinians, Israelis and foreign nationals join protests every Friday in villages along Israel’s separation wall, which runs deep inside the West Bank and confiscates villagers’ land.

The International Court of Justice and Israel’s Supreme Court have ruled that the route of the wall is illegal under international law. [...]

“Popular committee coordinator Mahmud Zawahra said villagers would continue to protest Israel’s confiscation of their land “despite Israel’s suppression.”

One final analysis…

Analysis: Revolution at the Rafah border

…”Things will get better,” said a Palestinian engineer from Gaza, who once studied and now works in a Swedish town south of Stockholm.

What he meant was that things will get better at the border crossing, in terms of the relationship between Gaza and Egypt. Without a decisive Egyptian decision to reopen the crossing — completely — Gaza will continue to reel under the Israeli siege.

Others agree, but Gazans have learned not to become too confident about political statements promising positive changes.

However, the Egypt of today belongs to an entirely different political category to the Egypt of Hosni Mubarak’s leadership. Palestinians, especially those trapped behind the shut borders in Gaza, are well aware of this. Still they are cautious…

Hope does spring eternal…! Inshallah…!