Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The Egyptian/Hamas siege of Gaza continues

It seems Rafah is not really open. Not even close. From Ma'an:

On the first day of full operations, 530 Palestinians used the terminal crossing both ways, while the second day say 845 Palestinians pass through the terminal. On Monday, the third day of operations, 722 Palestinians entered or exited Gaza.

The slow process and long lines frustrated officials, while a list of more than 5,000 Palestinians blacklisted from using the terminal sparked anger from Hamas.

Officials traded increasingly headed accusations over who failed in the creation of a mechanism to allow Palestinians to use Rafah, culminating in a late-night meeting between security personnel from both sides.

Following the meeting, the officials announced that a cap of 400 travelers per day would be set on the crossing, and the names of the permitted passengers would be posted one day ahead of travel.
The original agreement was for older people, kids and women to have unlimited access to the crossings. Now Hamas is agreeing to only 400 people a day.

The funny part is that there is really no difference between Rafah today and Rafah from June 2010-January 2011. Egypt opened the Rafah crossings right after the Mavi Marmara incident in June, and it remained open continuously until Eid in September when it was closed for three days. It re-opened after that continuously until January 25, 2011.

During the first month of its opening last year, some 600 people would cross daily - 300 in each direction.

So the current pseudo-opening of Rafah has absolutely nothing to do with Israel. It is pretty much going back to the situation before the Egyptian uprising, with roughly the same restrictions in place. And the current Egyptian authorities - as well as Hamas - are acting just as they did last year.

Of course, none of the news media is mentioning this.