Sunday, March 03, 2024

  • Sunday, March 03, 2024
  • Elder of Ziyon

My last post was about the scam artists using fundraising platforms to steal money that people want to donate to help Gazans.

However, there is another type of Gaza fundraiser that is dominating GoFundMe - raising funds to pay off Egyptian officials and others to allow family members to leave Gaza.

There are over a thousand such fundraisers on GoFundMe, representing thousands of people who are desperate to flee Gaza. 

Egypt closed the border and built a huge wall to stop any refugees from coming, claiming that this is for the good of the Palestinian people. Hamas agrees, because the more human shields between them and the IDF, the better.

The details of the fundraising pages don't directly say "bribes" but this is what they mean.

One says the need €6,300 per family member for "permits" and "crossing fees." Another says between $10,000-$15,000 per person for permits and crossing fees. Another says $5,500 per adult and $2,700 per child, and yet another says $7,000 per adult, and $1,500 per child. 

These numbers aren't coming from Egypt but from "brokers" who promise to bribe the right people to get the Palestinians out, and who may or may not simply pocket the money themselves. Some are assumed to be connected to Egyptian intelligence.

In January, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project looked at how Gazans must pay to go to Egypt:
The head of a Gaza-based travel agency, which was listed as one of Hala’s agents in a company Instagram post, told a reporter posing as a potential customer that he would need to pay $5,000 each for his Palestinian sister and mother to leave Gaza within seven days.

The formal process of registering through Hamas “stopped after the war,” the agent said on January 10.

“The Palestinian side has nothing to do with these permits anymore. It is purely an Egyptian intelligence operation,” he added.

In December, reporters contacted another broker based in Egypt, with no known affiliation to a travel agency. To prove his credentials, the broker texted a copy of his identity card, a receipt from a previous customer, and copies of Palestinian passports for which he had obtained exit permits.

“You pay half the price now through Vodafone cash” — an online payment method — “and the rest when you cross,” he wrote.

Asked if he could provide the names of people who left and their phone numbers, he responded: “Sister… after they cross, we destroy their application and all personal data for privacy. If these files fall into the hands of anybody it will be a problem, understood?”

As with most GoFundMe and similar sites, some requestors raise large amounts but most of them raise only a pittance or nothing. 

Most of these seem to be legitimate requests. Yet "human rights groups" remain silent on this issue, and have not yet written one word of rebuke for Egypt and other Arab countries refusing to accept Palestinian refugees.

Isn't it amazing that there are so many stories in the media about how Gazans are suffering but next to none about how they are being actively prevented from leaving?

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 19 years and 40,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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