The Palestinian Authority has taken control of the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing with Egypt in a symbolic gesture that appears to be a “thank you” to Egypt as much as anything else. In acknowledgement of the transfer, Egypt briefly opened the crossing for three days following the event.
The PA Security Force deployed guards at the site on Saturday, after Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization handed over administrative control of the checkpoint last Saturday, with a new picture of PA leader Mahmoud Abbas on the gates next to that of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. Very official.
But the gesture means little in the greater context of the rest of what’s happening — or not happening — in Gaza as part of the reconciliation deal being worked out between Hamas and the Ramallah-based PA’s leading Fatah faction in the attempt to move towards a unity government.
Hamas remains unwilling to hand over its iron-clad security control over Gaza; nor is it willing to relinquish its tens of thousands of rockets, missiles, bombs and assault rifles that comprise its massive weapons arsenal.
“One people, one weapon” may apply to the Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas, but the Iranian-backed proxies Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are as yet unwilling to join that league.
Thus the unity deal negotiated in October, and intended for conclusion with Gaza coming under the full control of Ramallah by December 1, seems still to be more fantasy than reality.