Sunday, September 30, 2007
Palestinians allowed to cross Rafah
"Egypt has allowed about 85 Palestinians to return to Gaza after they were forced to spend several months trapped on the Egyptian side of Rafah.
Two buses carrying the Palestinians headed on Sunday into Gaza after crossing a post held by the dissolved Palestinian government's "executive force" west of the main Rafah border crossing.
A number of Hamas leaders and members were among those allowed into Gaza.
The Palestinians had refused to return to Gaza by an alternative route that runs through neighbouring Israel for fear of being arrested by the Israelis.
The move follows intense negotiations between a Hamas delegation and Egyptian authorities over what the Palestinian group called a humanitarian, rather than a political issue, Al Jazeera's correspondeint in Gaza, said.
Egypt, leading Arab rapprochement efforts with Israel, has neither shunned nor accepted the Hamas movement as a legitimate government in Gaza, after the Palestinian faction forced rival Fatah out of the strip in June.
Any softening of Cairo's policy towards Hamas would likely anger Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and the United States, which is expected to convene Israeli and Arab leaders for a peace conference in November......"