Egypt restores restrictions on Rafah border crossing

Saleh Naami , Wednesday 1 Jun 2011

Following Saturday's easing of the blockade on Gaza through opening the Rafah border crossing, Palestinian officials claim that some of the old restrictions on travellers have been reimposed

Palestinian children wait to cross into Egypt at the Rafah border crossing in the southern Gaza Strip May 29, 2011 (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian authorities have reneged on some of the facilitations it had agreed upon and started providing at the Rafah border crossing last Saturday, according to the Palestinian director of the borders and crossings police in Gaza, Salama Baraka.

Following a meeting with Egyptian General Intelligence, Baraka told reporters that Egypt has decided to reduce the number of travellers crossing the border to between 250 and 400, the same number that passed through the crossing before restrictions were lifted.

Baraka clarified that the Egyptian intelligence representatives have asked the Palestinian side to provide the names of those crossing the border a day in advance. This is another practice carried out before Egypt pledged to ease passage through Rafah.

In addition, Egypt requires that any sick traveller coming from Gaza be medically examined by an Egyptian medical committee.

Egypt guaranteed facilitating passage across the border crossing for Palestinians as recently as Wednesday, added Baraka. This included allowing those caught in the transit area between the Egyptian and the Palestinian territories to pass as well as those travelling in vehicles cleared to cross.

Of Palestinian students, only those currently studying at Egyptian universities will be granted entry, said Baraka.

Palestinian sources claim that Egyptian security authorities have begun to slow down procedures at the crossing on Tuesday, as evident from the small number of travellers who were able to cross.

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