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Hamas: Rafah border is paralysed

Despite Egyptian promises of opening its border with Gaza permanently, Rafah Crossing is seeing new restrictions put in place

Saleh Naami , Wednesday 1 Jun 2011
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Palestinian officials told Ahram Online that Rafah Crossing is paralysed after Egyptian authorities restored restrictions on the border with Gaza Wednesday.

Only two buses crossed from Egypt to Gaza during Wednesday, according to Ghazy Hamad, a senior official to the Hamas foreign minister in Gaza.

He added that there is disagreement between Hamas and Egypt over the number of travellers to be permitted to cross every day, and the criteria under which people can gain entry visas, whether to Gaza or Egypt.

“Egyptian officials promised to find a fundamental solution to these problems in order to keep Rafah Crossing open for all Palestinians and Egyptians to travel without any obstacles,” Hamad said. He added that Egyptian officials needed time to process traveller easily and smoothly.

Meanwhile, a source revealed to the Palestinian Maan News Agency that certain Palestinians were barred from entering Egypt due to "security concerns", appearing on an Egyptian blacklist for having criminal records or being linked to illegal smuggling tunnels.

Hamad contests the claims. “Ninety five per cent of the people on this blacklist do not have security problems with Egypt; the list also includes old women in their seventieth year,” Hamad said.   

Maan News says the blacklist comprises 5,000 names, and that Hamas leaders will meet Egyptian officials soon to discuss its impact. The agency added that the Rafah Crossing is currently not working to full potential due to a lack of security equipment.

 

 

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Ali Ramzy
03-06-2011 06:35pm
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What restrictions?
Allowing over-40s in without a visa is a major concession. No other foreign national can enter Egypt without a visa, be they Saudi, Japanese, American or Venezualan! Palestine should be a country again but why should they get preferrential treatment over all others?
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William deB. Mills
02-06-2011 07:34pm
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Rafah & Regional Strategy
The opening of the Rafah border has weakened the Israeli stranglehold, but Israel's barbaric collective punishment policy remains, for the moment at least, more or less intact. The initial terms of the Rafah border opening include: restrictions on men under 40, who will require Egyptian visas; no commercial use. These two restrictions both constitute victories for Israel, discriminating against the politically active and allowing Israel to continue its collective punishment of the population through economic warfare. So, the devil in the details shows its ugly head. A small step toward justice for Gaza has occurred and can be expected to lead to more significant consequences, but Gaza remains buried deep in winter's freeze as the rest of the Arab world emerges into springtime. The retarded political process in Gaza and the rest of Palestine will, of course, have consequences, as the rapid political dynamics in Egypt clash with the glacial pace of Palestinians'
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