24 students from Gaza travel abroad

About 15,000 people registered for exit through Rafah Crossing have been waiting more than three months for the crossing to open. Photo: Gisha

About 15,000 people registered for exit through Rafah Crossing have been waiting more than three months for the crossing to open. Photo: Gisha

June 11, 2015. Today, 24 students exited Gaza through Erez Crossing. The students traveled to Jordan via Israel and will depart for their universities from there. Israel granted permits to 30 students, however six had to postpone their travel for personal reasons.

According to an official at the Palestinian Civil Affairs Committee, Israel has informed the committee that going forward it will allow 30 students to travel abroad every week. The committee collected the names of 190 students who are interested in traveling abroad to study and delivered them to the Israeli side.

Last week, Gisha wrote to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), requesting that students from Gaza who are enrolled in universities abroad be allowed to travel. In November 2014, Israel approved travel abroad to Gaza residents via Allenby Bridge (Israel’s border crossing with Jordan), but set a quota of 30 people a week, which includes, in addition to students, medical patients and Palestinians traveling for special conferences. From the time the decision was made until yesterday, only 94 students had travelled through Erez Crossing to Allenby Bridge (and from there to their studies abroad), while hundreds were unable to reach their academic institutions.

In the meantime, Rafah Crossing on the Gaza Egypt border is expected to open for three days starting Saturday to allow Palestinians to enter Gaza from Egypt. People who meet approval criteria will be permitted to travel from Gaza to Egypt as well. Rafah last opened on May 26, for two days, after 75 consecutive days of closure. Last time Rafah opened for exit to Egypt was on March 9 and 10. Only 1,010 exits were recorded at the crossing at the time, about 7% of the people who had requested to travel.