TEHRAN (Press Shia) – The Palestinian Hamas movement has handed over administrative control of Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings on the Israeli regime border, and Rafah crossing on the Egyptian border to Palestinian Authority.
Wednesday's handover, the first in over a decade, is part of deals agreed on in the latest round of Egypt-brokered reconciliation between Hamas and the PA-ruled Fatah political party in Cairo on October 12.
Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesperson told Al Jazeera, "We hope that handing over control would lead to a better quality of life for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.”
In a statement on Tuesday, the PA minister of civil affairs, Hussein al-Sheikh, said the national unity government is prepared to work closely with Egyptian authorities to prepare the Rafah border crossing for operation by November 15, as specified by the 2005 Agreement on Movement and Access.
Rafah, the main border crossing in the south of the Gaza Strip, has been largely closed to Gaza's population of two million since Hamas took over.
The other crossing, Erez, is located in the north of the strip and is run by Israel.
The PA will also be in charge of the three cargo crossing points of Karni, Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) and Sufa.
Since Hamas took over in 2007, Israel has imposed an air, naval and land blockade on the Gaza Strip, a stretch of land measuring 51km in length and 11km in width.