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Gaza Crossing Opens in Ceremony Only

Palestinian Authority leaders celebrate the re-opening of the Gaza Strip's border crossing with Egypt, a main gateway to the outside world for Palestinians. But no one was allowed to pass through Rafah on Friday. European Union inspectors, who will help monitor the opening, are still arriving. It was a day of frustration for some Palestinians who see eventual control of the crossing as a key step toward sovereignty.

Under the deal Israel will get a real-time video and computer feed of the border to a joint EU-Israeli-Palestinian "situation room." Marc Ott, the EU's special representative for the Middle East Peace process, says Palestinians will make "the final call" on any disputed "person of interest" trying to cross the border, after consulting with Israeli and EU police. But how that will work in practice could prove a major test for both sides.

Israeli officials say they're working to balance Palestinian freedom of movement with legitimate security concerns.They fear that militant groups including Islamic Jihad and Hamas will use the crossing to smuggle weapons and extremists to attack the Jewish state.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric Westervelt
Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.