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Egypt Warns Israel: Don't Interfere With Opening of Gaza Border Crossing

Rafah's opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the U.S., Israel, Egypt, and the EU; Israel official tells the Wall Street Journal developments in Egypt could affect Israel's national security.

Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt's plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel's concern, Army Radio reported on Saturday.

Palestinians take part in a protest at the Rafah border crossing between the southern Gaza Strip and Egypt, calling for an end to the blockade of the coastal territory and to allow in more medicine, April 27, 2011. (REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa) Egypt announced this week that it intended to permanently open the border crossing with Gaza within the next few days.

The announcement indicates a significant change in the policy on Gaza, which before Egypt's uprising, was operated in conjunction with Israel. The opening of Rafah will allow the flow of people and goods in and out of Gaza without Israeli permission or supervision, which has not been the case up until now.

An Israeli official on Friday told The Wall Street Journal that Israel was troubled by the recent developments in Egypt saying they could affect Israel's national security at a strategic level.

Israel's blockade on Gaza has been a policy used in conjunction with Egyptian police to weaken Hamas, which has ruled over the strip since 2007.

Rafah's opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn't get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.

Before Egypt's uprising and ousting of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak, the border between Egypt and Gaza had been sealed. It has occasionally opened the passage for limited periods.

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