Democracy Now! producers Sharif Abdel Kouddous and Nicole Salazar presented a riveting and important report this morning from the Rafah border crossing in Gaza, which was shut and sealed by Egyptian forces a few days ago. Just over a week since Egypt cinematically opened the Rafah crossing — after an announcement last month that the crossing would be open “permanently” for Palestinians needing to travel back and forth from the hermetically-sealed Gaza Strip — the Egyptian authorities first imposed a cap of 400 Palestinians to cross, and then closed the gates without explanation on Saturday.
The government in Gaza has asked Egypt to drop the restrictions, but reported that they made phone calls to the Egyptian authorities that went “unanswered.”
As The Electronic Intifada reported on 2 June, word of an opening of the Rafah crossing was a relief to many Palestinians in Gaza who — since the 4-year-long blockade was imposed by the Israeli government as a measure of collective punishment — were unable to leave for medical procedures, family reunifications, and the enjoyment of basic freedom of movement entitled to any human being. However the Egyptian authorities ended up initially imposing a strict, and somewhat confusing, list of “security” demands at the crossing — and people who expected being able to cross into Egypt were summarily turned back to Gaza. Now, the crossing remains indefinitely sealed, and once again, Palestinians remain trapped on both sides of the gate.
Abdel Kouddous and Salazar were one of the few teams of foreign journalists at the Rafah crossing.
Thank you to Democracy Now! for this excellent report. You can visit their website at www.democracynow.org.