Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Crossings Update (Gaza to the outside world)

The Rafah Crossing (between Gaza and Egypt-south) is the only crossing that Palestinian took some control over after the disengagement in August of Last year. There is a memo of Understanding that the crossing operates upon. A specific number of European observers have to be at the crossing to monitor its operation. Israel imposed some regulations to make sure they agree on who gets in and who doesn't. For example, when you go from Gaza to Egypt and you reach the security check area it is a very long process but the important part is that the Passports have to be checked and cleared by the Israelis through Palestinian personnel and by European observation. Now, since the 28th of June the Crossing was completely closed because of an order by Israeli security to the Europeans. Simply, Israel tells the Europeans not to go to the crossing to do their job, so they don't and then, the crossing is closed. During, the past period of closure, 500 Palestinians were stuck between both sides of the crossing. These are usually men who are approx. Between the age of 18-40 these have to be transferred. About 10 Palestinian died in this crossing in this period of closure because most of them are patients who get medication from Egypt or sent for urgent operations. This problem was solved when a group of Palestinian (Aqsa Brigades) from Rafah attacked the crossing and liberated those 500 people. During this period thousands were waiting on the other side either in Egypt or right off the border in the Egyptian side. There was an agreement to re-open the crossing for two days for those who are stuck right after this attack. Thousands managed to get in after more than 20 days of waiting.
Hundreds, if not more, are still stuck in Gaza and have families outside, or have admissions in Universities are waiting for a re-open from this side (Gaza to Egypt), The news came out yesterday that it will be open today and tomorrow only for those cases who have visas or are admitted to Universities. I know at least 3 people who were ready to leave and were on stand-by for a long time. It was not opened. The latest news is that there will be no re-opening in the coming days.
Eretz Crossing (North) has a full Israeli control since it was established! In the 90s. Gradually this has become like an International Crossing. There has been a closure imposed over the original closure. This simply means that before the operation some International organizations, businessmen and foreigners were able to request a permit and use it! After the operation, like any operation, all permits are no longer valid. In this case, there are several arrangements of what is called "coordination". Very few organizations can do that. Some like USAID, United Nations, and President's Office (Palestinian). It depends on the level of this double closure.
Anyway, there were many coordination(s) made with the Israelis especially by the American Embassy and other European gov. Institutions. All were cancelled today.
My friend, that I have her story under the" rains and friends" was promised to leave two days ago because she has a coordination that was made by miracle thru American Embassy, she actually went and passed but again was turned back to Gaza. Yesterday she tried again (American Embassy) and finally, today, they were told that all coordination(s) were cancelled.
Many diplomats are not able to leave.


I love Munich said...

What a nightmare!!! You guys must feel like in a prison .. I can hardly believe that. Ultimately, rest assured, they won't get away with it! NO occupation in history went for ever - what I can't understand though AT ALL ist the fact, the world sits STILL .. and only watches! HOW DISGUSTING!!

Naj - I'd be so interested to learn how life, I mean daily life in Gaza looks these days! Is there enough food? Water? How about medical care? Baby-food?
Could you tell me please? If you want to do it via e-mail ... you find mine at my blog under "PROFILE"!
God bless you all .. STAY STRONG!! I support you ALL - ALL THE WAY!!

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