Tuesday, August 02, 2011

A look at the prison gates at Rafah

Remember when Egypt said it was opening up the Rafah crossing for Gazans?

Well, not so much.

An article in a blog called Gaza Youth Breaks Out describes what is necessary to leave Gaza:
Let me sequence what you need to do if you want to travel from Gaza to anywhere else;
1- You have to go the registration office in Gaza at least 3 months before the date you wish to travel on. For example, if you want to travel on October, you have to register on July. Why? Because the Great Pharaohs allow only 300 people to leave daily and the number of people wishing to leave for several reasons is huge, so there is no empty place for you before October.

2- After waiting for 3 months, you go to Rafah gate. There, you would be really really really really really really lucky if you made it in your first try; people usually go 3 or 4 days in a raw, hoping to get in and not everyone crosses in the end as thousands are waiting for their turn.

3- If you made it and crossed the gate, you’ll have to wait in the Palestinian hall for at least 2 hours until you get your passport stamped.

4- Then you get in the bus and wait for some more.

5- Then you cross to the Egyptian hall and wait for them to call your name and stamp your passport. But guess what? They don’t stamp all the passports they receive. Almost 50 out of every 300 people will be returned to Gaza; depends on the mood of the person stamping the passport.

This Al Jazeera video shows that in order to get out of Gaza, it helps to be a friend of a Hamas leader - or to pay bribes:

Al Jazeera adds:

Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, has announced that from Monday only students, patients and foreign passport holders will be allowed to leave the territory through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

The move is an attempt to clear the huge backlog of travel applications.

Egypt and Hamas are both working to severely limit the number of travelers through the Rafah crossing.

Where are the full-page ads calling on Egypt to stop treating Gaza like a prison?  Why isn't George Galloway or Greta Berlin going on every TV show they can find to complain about Egyptian and Hamas policies? Why aren't there people participating in demonstrations against Egypt and Hamas? You know, because they care so much about the misery of Gazans?

(h/t CHA, Jerusalem Today)