Egypt's decision today to end its blockade of Gaza by opening the only crossing to the Hamas-ruled Palestinian territory this weekend could ease the isolation of 1.4 million Palestinians there. It also puts the new Egyptian regime at odds with Israel, which insists on careful monitoring of people and goods entering Gaza for security reasons. The Rafah crossing will be open permanently starting Saturday, Egypt's official Middle East News Agency announced.
That would provide Gaza Palestinians their first open border to the world in four years, since Egypt and Israel slammed their crossings shut after Hamas overran the Gaza Strip in 2007. Palestinians with passports will be able to cross into Egypt every day from 9am to 9pm except for Fridays and holidays. Entry into Gaza is more complicated. Palestinians are expected to run their side of the crossing, perhaps with European monitors. Israel was supposed to have a monitoring role from afar, theoretically to stop weapons and militants from entering Gaza. (Read more Egypt stories.)