Not all the Palestinians stranded at the terminal will be allowed to return to Gaza as part of the deal reached with Israel and Egypt a couple of days ago, Palestinian Minister of Information Reyad Malki told The Media Line.
Israel only approved the names on the lists that was prepared by the Palestinian side, said Malki, who also serves as the government’s spokesman.
“Just those whose names are on the lists will be allowed to return to Gaza,” he said.
Around 100 people, most of them women, children and the elderly, crossed into Israel and returned to the Gaza Strip yesterday.
They were taken to the Awja cargo crossing, south of Rafah, from where they were bused to the Erez crossing for further security checks before entering the Gaza Strip.
According to the deal, Egypt and Israel on Saturday agreed to allow 627 of the stranded Palestinians back into Gaza, with 101 crossing on Sunday and 527 on Monday.
“Our government will continue working with the Egyptians and Israelis to secure the return of [all] these people to their homes in Gaza,” Malki vowed.
Malki dismissed as “baseless” Hamas’ accusation that many of those left behind at the terminal have been barred because of their political beliefs.
“We did not ban anyone from adding his name to the lists, but some of them are wanted by the Israelis and feared detention,” he said.
Hamas, which is in control of the Strip, denounced the deal, alleging that the use of any other border crossing only strengthened the Israeli closure of Gaza.
Around 6,000 Palestinians, some of whom had gone to Egypt or elsewhere for education or medical care, have been stranded at the terminal in harsh conditions for more than a month.
Medical sources reported that more than 10 people have died due to shortage of food, medical attention and basic amenities since the terminal was shut.
The terminal, the only Gaza gateway to the outside world, was closed by Egypt and Israel after the P.A. security forces and EU monitors fled their position followed the Hamas offensive that routed its Fatah rival in Gaza, leaving the enclave politically split from the West Bank.
In retaliation P.A. Chairman Mahmoud Abbas dismissed the Hamas-led government and formed an emergency administration, headed by the moderate Salam Faya’d, which served for 30 days before Abbas turned it into a caretaker government.
Faya’d, who is in Cairo for a meeting with Arab League foreign ministers, reiterated the P.A.’s position on future talks with Hamas, saying they could only take place, “if Hamas relinquishes its ‘coup’ and accepts the constitutional measures taken by the P.A. chairman.”