Sunday, February 20, 2011

Gazans struggle to cross Rafah border

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PressTV - Gazans struggle to cross Rafah border:

Sun Feb 20, 2011 6:32PM
Safa Joudeh, Press TV, Gaza

"Crowds gather outside the office of Gaza's Borders and crossings Authority, in the southern city of Rafah. The people who have come here hope to register their names with border officials in order to gain permission to leave Gaza.

Government officials announced that the registration office would open its doors Sunday morning for the first time since anti government protests broke out in Egypt on January 25th. Since then the Rafah border, the only entrance into the Gaza that bypasses Israel, has been fully closed.
But the Egyptian authorities only authorize travel through the Rafah terminal for people who fall into 4 categories: patients with medical referrals, foreign passport holders, people with visas to other countries, who go straight to the airport, and students with proof of enrollment in their universities. For all others hoping to cross the border remains unrealized.
Approximately 1400 Gazans who were stranded in Egypt during the popular revolution were finally allowed to return home. But not all were fortunate enough to make it. Finally after obtaining travel permission this man accompanied his son, sick with Cancer, to Egypt. When they got there the country fell into turmoil and they returned home without seeing the doctor. The young man died only minutes after they crossed the border back into Gaza.

His illness progressed as we were waiting for travel permission. Even if we had seen the doctors in Egypt we knew it was too late by the time we got there because he fell into a coma. He is at peace now.

As Gaza is cut off form the outside world following years of Israeli siege, government officials have announced that negotiations with Egypt to fully open the border crossing are ongoing, and observers view the gradual easing of the closure as a good sign.

The former Egyptian regime enabled the Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip by closing its borders with the territory, and with both Palestinian and Egyptian figures calling for the full opening of the border, Gazans can only wait and hope that with a new Egyptian leadership the 4 year long isolation of the territory will finally come to an end.

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