Israel bulldozes Palestinian buildings at Rafah crossing point

13 June 2003

12 June 2003, Rafah, occupied Gaza Strip — We thought they would bomb the Gaza International Airport but instead they bulldozed the Palestinian-run buildings at Rafah Crossing Point (RCP), officially/unofficially ending the Palestinian-Israeli joint supervision intended for the checkpoint since it was reorganized under the Cairo Agreement after Oslo.

In any case, the implementation of cooperation was pretty well a joke. Under the Cairo Agreement, Israel has “complete responsibility for the entire point, including the security of the point,” and deny anyone access to the checkpoint regardless of nationality.

The Palestinian side of the checkpoint has existed in name only, allowed to act only under Israeli mandate. Furthermore, since 7 July 2001, only eight Palestinian workers and three drivers have been allowed to work at the checkpoint, and only after being searched by Israelis.

Before the Al-Aqsa Intifada, about 1500 travelers daily were permitted to cross RCP. Since the beginning of the Intifada, only 250 people a day on average have been permitted to cross and the checkpoint has been closed completely for over 160 days.

RCP is one of five exit-entry points in the Gaza Strip, of which three have been closed completely since 9 October 2000. Situated on the border of Egypt and Palestine, it is the only point through which Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip may travel internationally.

Note: Statistics from Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, visit www.mezan.org. For more information, contact Laura 067-850-734.

Laura Gordon is a 20-year-old American Jew who came to Israel in December 2002 with the Birthright Israel program and proceeded, three months later, to begin work with the International Solidarity Movement in Rafah. She moved to Rafah two days after Rachel Corrie was killed and has been there since. She works primarily in media work and documentation; and also to liase between the Rafah community and the international community through summer camp projects, cooperative building projects, and English teaching.