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Number of Palestinians denied access through Rafah increases threefold after revolution

The number of Palestinians denied passage through the Rafah crossing following the Egyptian revolution has increased threefold, claims the Egyptian head of the crossing

Saleh Naami , Tuesday 10 May 2011
Palestine
Palestinians wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip July 2, 2008, (Reuters).
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The Egyptian head of the Rafah crossing, police lieutenant colonel Ayoub Abu Shaar, said that the number of Palestinians who were denied passage through the Rafah crossing after the Egyptian revolution increased threefold compared to the numbers before the uprising.

In the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, a bulletin by Abu Shaar announced that the number of returnees failing to cross through Rafah did not exceed 20 travelers before the revolution while now the number is greater than 60 travelers.

Abu Shaar added that many of those who traveled regularly before the Egyptian revolution are now banned from doing so. He denied what was said in the media regarding the easing of constraints on the crossing, explaining that the announcements made about the issue in the media did not reflect realities on the ground.

Abu Shaar conceded the point that there has been an improvement in dealing with Palestinian travelers on the border, but maintained that no measures to facilitate searches and no increases in working hours or numbers of crossing Palestinians were achieved, and that the number of travelers doesn’t exceed 300 per day.

As for the deportation policy espoused by the Egyptian side, Abu Shaar said that “the deportation policy was terminated for those leaving the Gaza strip but is still operational for those on their way there."

The deportation policy involves forcing the travelers into security vehicles and escorting them from the airport to the Rafah crossing.

Abu Shaar appealed to the Egyptian government to change the current system of deportation and to grant Palestinian travelers easier access at the border, saying that “we hope that the statements of the Egyptians we hear in the media are realized and are enforced.”

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