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Jun-03-2011 15:40printcomments

Revisiting The Gates Of Rafah

Whatever the forces behind the apparent back tracking, the people of Palestine are, yet again, held hostage to politics not of their making.

Rafah gate

(WINDSOR, N.H.) - Last weekend, the interim Egyptian military government opened the border gates at Rafah a little wider allowing greatly improved entrance and exit for the people of Gaza.

For the past several years, those Palestinians wishing to go to school, obtain medical care unavailable in Gaza (not much care has been available there for many years due to the targeted assaults on medical centers and clinics by the degenerate Israeli military), visit relatives who had long been separated by forced “migration”, or obtain goods and services withheld from them by the blockade viewed as essential for the safety and security of Israel (such things as toilet paper and herbs that could easily be fashioned into rockets by the crafty experts in Hamas).

Under much protest by the fanatical right wing Israeli ruling party, the Egyptian rulers established a plan to lessen the time and paperwork required to approve limited travel to and from Egypt and offered enhanced transportation to better service travelers' needs.

Taxi drivers, of course, were a bit ruffled as this transportation (buses) cut into their income... yet some were openly excited by the prospect of improved income over time and a few were heard to exclaim joy that they, also, would soon visit their families after years of having visas refused. Age limitations for obtaining visas with relative ease (those under 18 and over 40 would actually not require visas) pleased many although some individuals felt this a reminder that oppression was still the rule.

While excited and optimistic that further changes and enhancements would soon follow, an undertone of disbelief and fear persisted. Visas have been an issue for as long as the gates have existed as many Palestinians have no documentation at all (Due, in large part, to war and destruction of records and exasperated by chaos following Israeli transgressions and purposeful confiscation of records by IOF. On top of all this, it is the Israeli government who controls whatever mechanisms exist for issuing papers to Palestinians).

After only two days of the new rules, the number of those wishing to take advantage of the changes began to dwindle and officials on both sides were seen scouting for people to travel through the gates. Sources inform that rumours of photo taking by Israeli agents and travelers being followed rapidly spread after the very first day of enhanced entry.

Then suddenly, around the middle of the first week, it was reported that the Egyptian authorities had begun back tracking on the enhancements and were reducing the numbers of individuals and families allowed through the gates daily.

Only students who could prove placement at Egyptian universities would be allowed through and increased questioning and demands for papers was slowing down the process of passage.

Palestinian authorities have been asked to provide lists of those seeking passage days in advance, sick Palestinians are apparently now being required to be triaged for entry approval and proof of existence for relatives is being demanded.

This writer has requested contact with the Director of border police, Salama Baraka, but has, as yet, been unable to do so. A source at the border has informed that threats by the Israeli government to withhold tax monies, increase “security” measures (assumed to mean increased harassment from undercover agents) and other actions have heightened concerns of both the Egyptian and Palestinian border authorities.

It was also stated that Israel has made it clear they will be taking steps to ensure closure of the border should the proposed Unity Government of Hamas and Fatah coalesce. Another source claims that restrictions are returning to the border as a means of pushing Fatah and Hamas to resolve certain differences swiftly and end what some parties see as unnecessary delays.

Whatever the forces behind the apparent back tracking, the people of Palestine are, yet again, held hostage to politics not of their making.


M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is a Counselor and Conflict Resolution Specialist/Consultant (Mediation/Arbitration/Facilitation) (20+ yrs).

He is the Creator of Thought Addiction programs (Lectures Seminars & Workshops) (Intensive 21 day Addiction Recovery Programs designed for Artists, Actors, Musicians & Industry Leaders) residing in New Hampshire (US). (The Website for M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is currently under reconstruction) Contact: 1-603-478-1544

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June 3, 2011 7:36 pm (Pacific time)

I knew it was too good to be true. Of course they had something up their sleeves. Where is the honesty? I pray for the Palestinians, they need all the help they can get.

Colli June 4, 2011 3:09 am (Pacific time)

Again and again, Israel gives the appearance of loosening the reins and becoming more compassionate only to pull the reins even tighter and become even less compassionate. It is likely that this is being done to shift focus for some reason . . . at least temporarily. As the world cries out for them to be more compassionate more and more frequently, they loosen the reins until things quiet down a bit. Once the outcry lessens though, they begin their continued push to shove the Palestinians out of their homes. The world has seen this type of maneuvering before, only it was in Europe, before WW II and it was done to the very people who are now doing it to the Palestinians.

Arturo June 3, 2011 5:13 pm (Pacific time)

Good News!!! let the Egyptians re-OCCUPY Gaza. They don't have their hands tied! When the Gazans act up and throw a violent murderous hissy fit, the egyptians will just mow them down as they have in the past. No jews, no problem the world wouldn't give a hoot.

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