Saturday, July 13, 2013

Gaza Palestinians still stranded abroad by Egypt’s restrictions

Men and boys sleep on suitcases
Palestinians wait at the Gaza side of the crossing with Egypt on Wednesday.
(Eyad Al Baba / APA images)

“We spent about four days in a three-meter-wide and ten-meter-long corridor in Cairo international airport. On Monday, when I left back to Tunisia, there were dozens of stranded people like myself, including two families with children, wanting to cross on their way back to Gaza,” Salama Marouf told The Electronic Intifada by phone.

Marouf is now back to Tunisia, after being deported by Egypt and where he had already spent one week attending a media conference.

He is one of the thousands of people affected by Egypt’s ban on Palestinians entering the country in order to return to Gaza, the only route home for the vast majority of the strip’s residents.

The Rafah crossing on the border between Egypt and Gaza, about a six-hour drive from Cairo’s airport, is the main outlet to the outside world for Gaza’s nearly 1.7 million residents, due to Israel’s ongoing land, sea and air blockade of the territory.

Egypt closed the Rafah crossing after the army’s 3 July ouster of elected president Muhammad Morsi, stranding thousands of Palestinians abroad........"

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