And somewhere in the teeming crowd, came people anxious to exploit the day for their own less innocent purposes.From the Washington Post:
Fertiliser, broken down into half bags for lugging through the many tunnels that arms smugglers normally use for delivery into Gaza, was to be seen as it was manhandled overland.
It was white, oily, crystalline and a dab on the tongue left a sharp, burning sensation.
In most countries fertiliser has a perfectly innocent function but in Gaza militants use it to make explosive.
"Hey, hey, hey," shouted a man as I took a photograph of a pile of fertiliser half bags.
His aggressive tone jarred with the mood the crowd as he grabbed my camera lens firmly.
Along one teeming road in the Egyptian part of Rafah, a Hamas security official who had been stranded on Egypt's side of the border since June -- fearing arrest by Israel during a crossing if he tried to return -- met his mother and sisters in the surging crowd. "Eight months I haven't seen him!" his mother exclaimed after a flurry of hugging and kissing.
The man excused himself for not talking. "I'm on the wanted list," he explained.
Israel accuses Egypt, increasingly sharply, of allowing smugglers to bring arms and explosives into Gaza. It was clear Wednesday that contraband and gunmen could cross the border that day with little chance of being stopped.
... Seven or eight Egyptian border guards stood lined up along one stretch of no man's land, which was thick with milling Palestinians and livestock.
The Egyptian guards watched but did not move. "Don't speak to us! Don't even look at us!" one Egyptian officer shouted after someone in the crowd moved toward them.