Tag Archives: Rafah border crossing

Rafah border crossing closed for 100 days now

20 Apr

rafah-crossingPalestinians gather at the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing

World Bulletin / News Desk, 19 April 2015

The Rafah crossing on the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been closed for 100 days now, the Gaza Interior Ministry said Saturday.

It added that this has been the longest closure of the crossing since 2009, calling on Egyptian authorities to reopen the border point to alleviate the suffering of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

Around 60,000 Gaza residents have registered to get out of the blockaded territory from the crossing for medical and other needs since July of 2013, according to Gaza’s border crossings authority.

Since October of last year, Egyptian authorities have been working to create a buffer zone in the border area between Sinai and the Gaza Strip.

 

Thousands of Palestinians storm Rafah crossing

11 Mar

rafah-crossing

Middle East Monitor  report 10 March 2015

Thousands of Palestinians stormed the Rafah Crossing when it was opened yesterday morning. The Palestinians were in urgent need to travel either to seek medical attention, for studies, work or other reasons.

After 45 days of its continuous closure, the Egyptian authorities announced that they would reopen the crossing for two days from yesterday. More than 500 pilgrims who had visas to travel to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in February have missed out on the opportunity to go as their visas have expired.

Rafah Crossing is the only window for about 1.8 million Gaza residents to the outside world. There are six other crossings between Gaza and Egypt, but because of the eight year Israeli siege on Gaza, the crossings have been almost entirely closed except for the entry of certain goods.

According to the records of the interior ministry in Gaza, more than 10,000 residents are registered for urgent leave. On Monday, only 361 were allowed through the crossing.

Resident Hussein Fojo, 43, said he waited for many hours in the travel lounge on the Palestinian side, hoping to leave to reunite with his family in Egypt. His attempts were unsuccessful.

“I came to Gaza four months ago for a one-month visit,” he told the Anadolu Agency. “Because of the closure, I am stuck here. I lost my job.”

Sa’diyyeh Abdul-Khaliq, an elderly lady who is in need of treatment for a liver disease, managed to get on the bus to Egypt. She said: “I hoped I could travel. I have been trying for four months. This illness cannot be treated in Gaza so I am forced to head to Egypt.”

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Meanwhile another group of Egyptian soldiers have been killed and injured during an ambush in the Sinai,  further escalating tensions in the area..
Hamas says attacks on Egyptian soldiers are a ploy to keep Rafah crossing closed
Middle East Monitor report 10 March 2015.

A senior Hamas official has condemned the latest attack on Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai Peninsula. Such attacks, claims Mousa Abu-Marzouk, are a ploy to push the Egyptians to keep the Rafah border crossing closed and damage relations between Hamas and the government in Cairo.

“The Rafah crossing was reopened after a long time and many appeals by different parties,” Abu-Marzouk wrote on his Facebook page. “After this attack, I am sure that there are some parties thinking of keeping the crossing closed and our relations with Cairo unresolved.” He called on Egypt not to fulfil the wishes of these “parties”, keep the crossing open and maintain links with the Islamic Resistance Movement in Palestine.

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Egypt court considers demand to close Rafah permanently

16 Dec

237498_345x230The Rafah border crossing with Gaza remains closed by Egypt

Ma’an News Agency report, El-Arish, Egypt, 15 December 2014

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters is scheduled to convene Monday to look into a suit filed by an Egyptian lawyer demanding that Egypt close the Rafah crossing with Gaza.

The lawyer, Nasser Hasan Rida, recently filed a suit at the court asking it to bind Egypt’s president, prime minister and foreign minister to close the Rafah crossing with the Gaza Strip once and for all.

The filer argued in his complaint that the border terminal must be closed because of attacks on Egyptian army and police officers in Sinai which Egyptian authorities accused Hamas of carrying out.

Egypt opens Rafah crossing one way for eleven hours

27 Nov

Palestinians climb a gate during a rally calling on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing, at the crossing in the southern Gaza StripPalestinians hold Palestinian flags as they climb a gate during a rally calling on Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah border crossing, at the crossing in the southern Gaza Strip November 23, 2014. REUTERS-Ibraheem Abu Mustafa

By Nidal al-Mughrabi, Reuters, Gaza, 26 November 2014

 Egypt opens Rafah crossing to stranded Palestinians bound for Gaza

Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday for the first time in a month to allow thousands of stranded Palestinians to return to the Gaza Strip, border officials said.

However, the frontier remained closed in the other direction, making it impossible for the vast majority of Gazans to leave the densely populated Mediterranean enclave.

The Rafah crossing was shut on Oct. 25 after Islamist militants in Egypt’s adjacent Sinai region killed 33 members of the security forces in some of the worst anti-state violence since Islamist president Mohamed Mursi was toppled in July 2013.

The month-long closure marooned around 6,000 Palestinians in Egypt and third countries, while around a thousand people in Gaza are desperate to get out for medical treatment in Egypt, officials in Islamist-ruled Gaza say.

Egyptian state television said outbound traffic would be allowed from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday.

Impatient to return home, hundreds of Palestinians swiftly started to cross as soon as the border offices opened.

“The situation was very difficult. People ran out of money, others were sick, it was tough for everyone. Some went to mosques to sleep because they had no money,” said Fadwa Almoghrabi, who was stuck in Cairo for 20 days on her way back from visiting relatives in the Gulf.

Travelers said a combined 11 hours of openings would not be enough to allow the thousands of stranded Gazans to return.

Rafah is the only major border crossing into the impoverished Gaza Strip that does not go through Israel, which also blockades the territory.

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36,000 stranded while waiting for Rafah crossing to open

21 Nov

300750_345x230Egyptian troops have closed the Rafah border crossing for over four weeks

Middle East Monitor report, 20 November 2014

There are 30,000 humanitarian cases that are in dire need of travel, while 6,000 Palestinians are stranded in Egypt awaiting the opening of the Rafah crossing which has been closed for over four weeks, the Ministry of Interior and National Security in Gaza said.

Speaking during a press conference yesterday, the spokesman for the Ministry of Interior in Gaza, Eyad Al-Bozum, said that those who are considered humanitarian cases either suffer from serious illnesses, have residency permits, are students, or have foreign passports.

He added that the continued closure of the crossing has created a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, as it is the residents’ only lifeline and window to the outside world. Al-Bozum explained that many humanitarian aid convoys and solidarity delegations have been unable to enter Gaza, especially after the most recent war which lasted 51 days.

According to Al-Bozum, the crossing has been closed for 208 days this year due to a new Egyptian policy. This has intensified the suffering of the people of the Gaza Strip, who have already been suffering for eight years under due to Israel’s siege on the enclave.

He stressed that there is no justification for the Egyptian authorities’ closure of the Rafah crossing, noting that the crossing has never been a burden on Egyptian security and there have never been any security violations.

Al-Bozum called on the Egyptian authorities to open the Rafah crossing immediately and to facilitate the passage of people and goods in light of the disastrous conditions suffered by the people of Gaza.

Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah ground crossing completely on October 24 citing the deteriorating security situation in Sinai. It is unknown when it will reopen.

The Rafah crossing is the only crossing that serves the 1.8 million Palestinians living in besieged Gaza which is not subject to Israeli controls.

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Egypt closes Rafah crossing ‘until further notice’

26 Oct

RafahRafah crossing closed.

Middle East Eye report, 25 October 2014

As part of the state of emergency declared in much of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula following attacks on Friday that killed 31, Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning.

In a televised speech at a military college north of Cairo on Saturday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told viewers that “the problem of Rafah and the Rafah border line and all the problems in the area should be approached”.

During the most recent war in Gaza, Egyptian authorities sparked criticism from Palestinian and international groups for leaving the crossing closed during much of the 51 days of fighting which damaged much of the Strip’s infrastructure.

Since a ceasefire deal was reached between Palestinians and Israeli in late August, Egyptian authorities had opened Rafah to Gazans with permanent residence abroad or foreign passports, and for people with serious medical conditions who have approval to travel from Gaza’s Health Ministry.

With the border now closed, Mohammed Omer, MEE’s contributor in Gaza said those seeking treatment abroad for urgent health problems will be unable to travel.

However, Omer said rebuilding efforts in Gaza should not effected as, despite a major reconstruction conference held in Cairo this month which saw donors pledge $2.7 billion, required materials have still not been allowed to pass through the Rafah border crossing.

“Wait for a few days – there will be a big crisis in Gaza,” Omer said, alluding to those waiting to cross at the border.Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing into the Gaza Strip on Saturday morning, in the wake of a day of bloody attacks against Egyptian military personnel in the country’s restive province of North Sinai.

The closing of the crossing come after a huge suicide bomb blast on Friday which targeted an army checkpoint at the North Sinai Bedouin town of Sheikh Zuweid killed 20 soldiers. The explosion occurred around 12 kilometres west of the crossing point. Another soldier was killed when militants opened fire at an army checkpoint in al-Arish, the largest town in the desert landscape of North Sinai.

The Rafah crossing lies some 50 kilometres east of the main North Sinai town of al-Arish, and is the only land crossing into the Gaza Strip not directly controlled by Israel authorities.

Palestinian officials confirmed on Saturday that the crossing had been closed since 05:00 local time (03:00 GMT).

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