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The New Arab

Gaza-Rafah border to open, but just for VIPs

The border is usually closed to most of the population who want to leave [Anadolu]

Date of publication: 15 October, 2016

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President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the opening of the border crossing into Gaza this weekend, but only for Palestinian politicians due to attend a state-sanctioned conference will be allowed out.
One of the few entrances into besieged Gaza will open this weekend for Palestinian VIPs due to attend a  government-sponsored conference near Suez, The New Arab had learnt.

The border, which is usually closed to ordinary Palestinians in Gaza, was expected to open next week for medical cases.

It has been confirmed that it will also open at the weekend to allow Palestinians dignitaries to attend the Cairo-backed event near Suez, which has been organised by Mohammad Dahlan, an expelled member of Fatah.

The Egyptian government newspaper al-Ahram has reported that President Abel Fattah al-Sisi "personally ordered" the border to be opened in order to "allow humanitarian cases to cross".

The New Arab has learnt the real reason is to allow the VIPs to pass.

The New Arab's Gaza correspondent reported that more than a hundred political and academic figures - including some MPs - will travel to attend a conference in the resort city of Ain Sokhna.

The gate opens on rare occasions to allow medical patients, students and pilgrims to leave Gaza.

For this reason it is sometimes referred to as "the world's largest open-air prison" due to residents being hemmed into the strip by Israeli and Egyptian authorities.

Attendees are expected to discuss the future of Palestinian politics and the Fatah movement.

The event was originally scheduled to take place in September, but was cancelled due to alleged pressure from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Controversial politician Dahlan issued a statement at the time, saying that the reason for the cancellation was that he wanted to ensure the unity of the party.

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