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Jun-06-2011 01:03printcomments

Rafah Update

In one disturbing report, a blacklist published by Egyptian security containing the names of over 5000 individuals to be refused passage at Rafah.

Rafah gate
Rafah gate, AFP photo

(WINDSOR, N.H.) - The situation at the Rafah border crossing continues to deteriorate as the days pass. In a previous report, it was noted that restrictions have begun to creep in and confusion along with much speculation had surfaced as to what has precipitated these moves.

In the past 24 hours, confirmation has come that some repairs and modifications to the border structure required late opening and early closing on Saturday June 4. Watchful eyes will be reporting on any further delays and closures.

Over the past few days, Egypt has ceased using buses to transport travelers who were forced to make the journey through the border on foot. Unconfirmed reports state that carts were made available for individuals who were pregnant, ill or handicapped.

It has been reported, unofficially, that Hamas met with the border authorities for Egypt and an agreement was struck to limit travelers to only 400 per day. No reason was given and again speculation is that outside pressures are causing authorities to appear more diligent in screening those wishing to travel between the two areas.

Reports this writer has received indicate that the initial wave of travelers from the Palestinian side has dwindled significantly, however, news agencies are reporting otherwise and that the border security has been overwhelmed in attempts to process these individuals.

There have been reports of individuals being solicited for bribes. No arrests, however, have been reported and these accusations are not being given much credence on either side of the border.

Tensions have increased daily at the border as more and more individuals are turned away. People are complaining that they have been tricked into thinking there was genuine change and had wasted their time and money only to be turned away. Some individuals, refused passage, have stated they will appeal to Egyptian courts claiming the information causing them to be turned away stems from false or errant claims made years ago to the old regime.

Reports of travelers attempting to force their way through the border and an increase in battle baton wielding security on the Egyptian side have surfaced although there are, as yet, no reported injuries.

A most disturbing report, received just a few hours ago, regards a blacklist published by Egyptian security containing the names of over 5000 individuals to be refused passage at Rafah. Unnamed sources have confirmed the existence of this list and state that Hamas is enraged on the hole and in part because many names are connected with Hamas.

These sources have suggested that the list originated either as a direct threat from Israel or was presented by US agents to the interim Egypt government on behalf of Israel. Both the US and Israel have been applying constant pressure on Egypt to close the border. Creating tension between Egyptian authorities and Hamas is a suspect tactic.

Authorities on both sides of the border have yet to return calls, unfortunately, leaving us with the most negative impressions of the Rafah “opening” which some now suggest is little more than an intelligence gathering operation by the Egyptian military.

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: mdp54@gsinet.net 1-603-478-1544

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