Geographical Background: Rafah is the furthermost southern city in Gaza Strip. It’s the closest city to the Egyptian borders, the only gateway the Palestinians who live in Gaza strip are allowed (Pending “Israel” will) to cross. In 1999 and according to Oslo accords, the Palestinian Authority(PA) with help from some Arab countries (thanks Morocco) built an airport near Rafah (green point on the map), that airport was operational for almost one year before the “Israeli” destroyed the runways and the equipment in the traffic control tower, a week after the second Intifadah erupted. The airport now is a pile of derbies, thanks to Caterpillar bulldozers.
To make long story short, and because I don’t have too much time to write all what is need to be written… After the “Israeli” army and settlers withdrew from Gaza in September 2005, the “Israeli” handed the crosspoint control to the Palestinian Authority (PA) subject to European Union Inspection. The protocol says that the crosspoint cannot be operated if the European Union inspectors are not present in the cross point; to monitor the PA border control operations. It’s worthy to note here that also the “Israeli” army installed cameras in the crosspoint main entry and departure halls, to monitor the crosspoint from a nearby border control post (See the map: black dot on the lower right corner of Gaza Strip), the computers in the Rafah crosspoint are also connected to the “Israeli” nearby post, to monitor the names of people who leave and enter. Now still all this is not enough for “Israel” to humiliate the Palestinians, of course someone might wonder, where those European inspectors live? well, you guessed it, just inside the dashed line above, which is known for us as “The 1948 occupied territories”, some people refer to it as “Israel”. So to reiterate: the crosspoint cannot be operational for departure and entry from Egypt unless the European Union inspectors are present physically there in Rafah crosspoint! and in order for them to come to Rafah, the European inspectors themselves have to go through an “Israeli” crosspoint on the corner of the dashed line above (black dot), well! yeah you guessed it again! If “Israel” wants to close Rafah crosspoint and prevent thousands of Palestinians from departing Gaza for medical reasons, education, business,…. and to prevent other thousands who come from abroad to see their families in Gaza, all what the “Israeli” need to do is to close that “Karm Abu Salim” tiny cross point (the small black dot) and the European inspectors won’t be able to be in Rafah crosspoint! hence the crossing will be closed pending the “Israeli” will and generosity to open it again by allowing the EU inspectors to make it to Rafah !… Of course the pretexts for preventing the EU inspectors from going to Rafah are endless, the most used one by the “Israeli” goes like this: “for security reasons and for not to endanger your [the EU Inspectors] lives” or “because we[The “Israeli”] have received alarms from authentic sources that the Palestinians are planning to blow up the Rafah crosspoint [which is their only gateway to the world] ” ironical? yeah but the “Israeli” believe it works!…
There was (and still) days and weeks and last summer months that the crosspoint were closed and as much as 5000 Palestinians will be waiting on both sides to enter or leave Gaza! many people died on the crosspoint last summer, most of them they were waiting for the border to open after they heard that the it will be open today, may be tomorrow, but the “Israeli” will change their minds the last minute! … It’s so unbelievable, but it’s also a reality!
I actually wrote this post because of an e-mail I received recently from a friend where he sent me some pictures depicting the suffering of thousands of people, to cross a distance of 500 meters! True, crossing this distance will take you, 10 hours if you’re supremely lucky, couple of days if you’re lucky and weeks if you have some luck… and if you’re without luck, you might die on that crosspoint! and that’s what happened to an elderly man the day before yesterday! he suffered a heart attack while awaiting to cross his way to Egypt for medical treatment!… I’ll leave you with the pictures I received (Thanks Yousif).