Egyptian authorities Saturday opened the Rafah crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt for two days in both directions for “humanitarian cases”. According to the Palestinian authority for crossings and borders, the crossing is expected to remain open until the end of Monday. for the passage of students, sick people, and foreign passports’ holders, as more than 25,000 Palestinians are still in need of traveling, while others are stranded on the Egyptian side waiting to return to the Gaza Strip.
For its part, The Palestinian Interior Ministry welcomed the Egyptian decision to open the crossing, while others are stranded on the Egyptian side waiting to return to the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry.
A statement released later by the Gaza-based organization that represents families of people who were killed or injured by Israeli forces said that the crossing would operate on Monday as well.
The group’s chairperson Muhammad al-Nahhal said Rafah crossing would be open on Monday for the entry of family members of “martyrs and the injured” who have been selected to perform the Hajj pilgrimage at the expense of the king of Saudi Arabia. He highlighted that 500 relatives of “martyrs and the injured” had been elected to benefit from the grant.
The department of crossings and borders noted that it had prepared the documents for Palestinians expected to cross on Saturday and Sunday, and has begun to organize buses that will transport travelers through the crossing.
On Tuesday, The borders authority noted that it had prepared the documents for Palestinians expected to cross on Saturday and Sunday, and has begun to organize buses that will transport travelers through the crossing. On Tuesday, Egyptian authorities opened the crossing for three days to allow Palestinians passage for the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, the Egyptian authorities banned the access of 49 Palestinian civilians out of the blockaded Gaza Strip via the Rafah border-crossing, the Palestinian Interior Ministry said Sunday.
593 humanitarian cases only, out of hundreds of stranded passengers, were allowed access out of Gaza. According to the border-crossings and crossings department at the Ministry of the Interior, at least 494 stranded Palestinians are in need of urgent travel via the Rafah passageway. The Rafah border-crossing has been opened for the second day following a sixty-day-closure. Tens of thousands of humanitarian cases have been stranded for months due to the tough security measures imposed by the Egyptian authorities.
Egypt has upheld an Israeli military blockade on the Gaza Strip for the majority of the past three years, since the ousting of former President Muhammad Morsi in 2013 and the rise to power of President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi in Egypt.
While the Egyptian border has remained the main lifeline for Gazans to the outside world, Egyptian authorities have slowly sealed off movement through the border since Morsi was toppled by the Egyptian army.
Due to the constraints on Palestinian movement through the crossing, many Gazans are commonly barred from leaving or entering the besieged coastal enclave, some for months at a time, as the crossing is only periodically opened by Egyptian authorities, stranding Palestinians on both sides of the crossing during closures.
In 2015, the Rafah crossing was closed for 344 days. The crossing has been reopened on a more regular basis since the beginning of 2016.
The near decade-long Israeli blockade has plunged the Gaza Strip’s more than 1.8 million Palestinians into poverty. The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years and slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN in September to warn that Gaza could be “uninhabitable” by 2020.