In a rare decision, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has said that the Rafah crossing, Gaza’s only gateway to the outside world will be open for the month of Ramzan.
The Rafah crossing is not controlled by Israel but by Egypt which has largely sealed it in the recent years citing security reasons. It is usually open a few dozen days a year and such an extended period is rare.
Sisi’s announcement comes after some 60 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire on the Gaza border earlier this week, with the victims described by Egypt’s foreign ministry as “martyrs”.
Recently, Turkey accused Israel of ‘state terror and genocide’ and declared three days of national mourning after Israeli army killed at least 60 Palestinians and wounded around 2700 Palestinians in Gaza.
However, the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu while defending his military has said that they acted in self defence against the Islamist rulers of Gaza, Hamas.
The demonstrations, which coincided with protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, are part of a weeks-long movement calling for the right of return for Palestinian refugees to the areas they were forcibly expelled from in 1948.
Since the protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 117 Palestinians in the coastal enclave and wounded about 12,000 people.
The protest comes ahead of the annual commemorations of the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, when the state of Israel was established on May 15, 1948, in a violent campaign that led to the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their villages.