Monday, May 23, 2016

Hell Gate " Rafah Crossing "

                                                       Photo:Zouheir alNajjar

Citizens of Gaza strip suffer from the siege imposed over them by the Egyptian and Israeli authorities years ago.2016 marks ten years of Israeli siege.
 Ali,42 years old man from Gaza ,left to Europe."I reached Belgium in 2014 after a long journey of death through the sea,escaping from the illegal blockade of Gaza",said Ali.
Ali is a father for six children waiting a long their mother to cross from Rafah border towards Egypt to fly to their father in Belgium to be united again.
"Its unbelievable ,I booked my family flight tickets as they were supposed to cross the second day to Egypt,but the Egyptian authorities broke their agreement with the authorities in Gaza and didn't allow any bus to cross the following day,where I lost the tickets money too", said Ali.
 Its noteworthy that the Egyptian authorities was supposed to open the Rafah border on both sides for 2 days on 11 and 12 May.On the first day ,the Egyptian authorities allowed 7 buses to cross after a continues humiliation for the Palestinian side as usual.
I was in touch with Ali before the border opening announcement. He gave me a call and was happy that his is coming with his children." I booked their flight tickets as they are going to cross the second day,their names on the list,I am happy that will meet and reunite again",said Ali while he was full of happiness and did not realize that this happiness will turn to sadness.
"Help me ! the Egyptian authorities didnt allow any bus in till now",asked Ali.The Egyptian authorities kept the crossing gate closed till late hours the second day ,claiming that there was a problem with the computers system while in fact there was a dispute between the Palestinian and Egyptian parts.The Egyptian part was keen to let the coordination bus to pass first and the other buses afterwards.
The coordination bus is a bus contains 100 passengers where they pay at least 3 thousand USD to some certain people who are in touch with the Egyptian authorities (intelligence) and crossing officials  ,This money distributed  afterwards among them,where the crossing officials get each opening more than 600 thousand USD from those poor passengers in order to cross.
The Israeli occupation closed all crossings into the territory, keeping only the Erez Crossing open for occasional pedestrian traffic and Kerem Shalom for a few classified and highly-regulated goods. Erez has been used a trap for people trying to cross.
Egypt has been keeping the Rafah Crossing closed for most of the time. In 2015, the crossing was only open for 21 days; just 10,000 Palestinians were allowed through, among them pilgrims, patients and students.Since the beginning of 2016,its only 2 days on last 11 and 12 May where the crossing opened.Its noteworthy that there are more than 100 thousand persons including patients,students and families waiting for joining their families 
Palestinian ministry of health in Gaza has since been reporting chronic shortages of medicines and hospital disposables. “Shelves are empty due to the restrictions imposed by the Israelis on people and goods going in and out of the coastal enclave,” MOH spokesman says.
" I paid thousands of Dollars to let my family cross from Gaza to Egypt through the coordination bus in the next opening of the crossing",said Abo Ahmed,a Palestinian refugee living in Belgium waiting for his to reunite again.
Abo Ahmed,tried to bring his family through the normal procedures and list but in vain,as there thousands of people registered their names to cross from Rafah crossing but its a long list ,but the only way now is to pay thousands for Dollars through the brokers to register his family in the coordination bus.
Attempt to break the siege
The plight of the Palestinians in Gaza has aroused widespread popular support across the world and many attempts have been made to break the siege by sea.
Although a few small boats made the trip in the first few years, later and more ambitious attempts were stopped in international waters by the Israeli navy, often violently.
In May, 2010, for example, the Israeli commandos intercepted the Freedom Flotilla. Nine Turkish citizens were killed in the assault and a number of others were wounded; one died in 2014 as a direct result of his wounds. The ships were towed into and Israeli port and everyone on board was arrested.
During the siege, the Israeli occupation has launched four major military offensives against the people of Gaza, in 2006, 2008/9, 2012 and 2014; the latter was the most destructive. It lasted for 51 days and whole areas of Gaza were flattened by Israeli bombs; tens of thousands of people were displaced.
The strict siege and wars have shattered the Palestinian economy in Gaza, economic commentator Maher al-Tabaa told Quds Press. “The unemployment rate in Gaza stands at 42 per cent, with the blockade deepening the economic crisis,” he explained.
According to the International Monetary Fund, the unemployment rate in Gaza is the highest in the world and there are more than 200,000 unemployed people in Gaza.
Many international organisations have issued similar warnings due to the effects of the oppressive Israeli measures, which are regarded as collective punishment and are illegal in international law.
Thousands of Palestinians waiting for the next opening of the crossing with hope to join families abroad,students to get back to their universities.patients to get their cure in the hospitals.They are full of hope that the crossing will open by the holy month of Ramadan.
Some of the information in the article from 
Days of Palestine