Rafah Crossing closed once again

Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is closed once again. Photo: Gisha

Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is closed once again. Photo: Gisha

June 6, 2016. Today, Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt is closed once again after operating for four days: last Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Over the four days, 3,142 crossings into Egypt were recorded, along with 894 crossings into the Gaza Strip. Additionally, 132 individuals were denied entrance into Egypt.

Pictures on social media showed buses traveling to Egypt crowded with people. Almost 90 people were crammed onto buses designed for only 50 passengers. Towards the end of the day, several travelers who had passed through to the Egyptian side of the crossing after making it through security screenings and passport control were forced to sleep inside the terminal under difficult conditions, due to a 7pm Egyptian-imposed curfew in the northern Sinai.

Around 30,000 individuals are on the waiting list to travel from Gaza through Rafah Crossing. The categories of those permitted to cross into Egypt include medical patients seeking treatment at Egyptian hospitals, students registered to study abroad and those with foreign residency or passports. In 2015, Rafah Crossing was only open for travel from Gaza into Egypt on 25 days and for travel from Egypt into Gaza on 31 days. In all of 2015, only 14,458 exits from Gaza to Egypt were recorded. In the first half of 2013, when Rafah Crossing operated more regularly, a monthly average of 40,816 crossings were recorded there.