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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Egypt easing Gaza visa requirements? Not so fast.

AP reported yesterday:
Egypt is allowing freer temporary entry for Palestinians into the country in an unprecedented move that eases long-imposed travel restrictions, particularly on Gazans, Egyptian and Palestinian officials said Monday.

The decision has caused confusion among the security agencies here -- and appeared to bring some resistance. Some officers at the airport refused to implement the measures, an airport official said, in a sign of how deeply some in the security forces view the Palestinians as a potential threat.
And JPost reported:
Palestinians who arrive in Egypt without a visa will be allowed to stay in the country for 72 hours, the Egyptian envoy in Ramallah, Yasser Othman, announced Monday.

The announcement came as the Egyptian authorities denied that they have lifted restrictions imposed on Palestinian travelers.
But today, Othman is singing a different tune:
Procedures for Palestinians entering Egypt have not changed, despite earlier reports that restrictions had been eased, Cairo's ambassador to the Palestinian Authority said Monday.

Yasser Othman told Ma'an that regulations for Palestinians' entry to Egypt were still applicable, although Palestinians arriving in Egypt would be granted a 48 -72 hour visa to transit the country in limited cases.

"All the news circulated in the media about Palestinians' entry to Egypt are false, however human considerations will be taken into account regarding the deportation of Palestinians from the Egyptian airport to the Gaza Strip," Othman said.
It sounds like there was pushback in Egypt against loosening restrictions against Gazans - who ordinary Egyptians seem to love, as long as that love is expressed purely as anti-Israel demonstrations.

It looks like Egypt is still besieging Gaza.