Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
The Gaza Siege:
Who benefits from this crime against humanity?
A Statement By the International Movement to Open Rafah Border
ccun.org, August 5, 2009
The Egyptian authorities have transformed the Sinai Peninsula between
Gaza, Israel and the Nile, in a military camp to protect the Zionist state
but they have a counterpart: the financial exploitation of the Palestinians
Following the signing in 2005 of the Free Movement and
Access (AMA), between Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the European
Union, shameful agreement that allowed the opening of the Rafah crossing
under European and Israeli supervision, Egypt began to develop the road
infrastructure which would support economic activity linked to this, by
starting the construction of a four-way between Ismailia and Rafah.
But in January 2006 after the Hamas victory in parliamentary elections,
however, regarded by all as a democratic, Israel imposed an embargo on the
Palestinian Authority, the United States and the European Union froze the
aid supplying and Egypt closed the Rafah crossing, set up dozens of
checkpoints across the Sinai, with the construction of road infrastructure
and economic development and has developed industry tunnels.
Mainstream media generally link tunnels with the smuggling of weapons into
Gaza when they are used, mainly, to supply commodities to the
beleaguered Gazans and to make richer the Egyptian businessmen and
And this is under the eyes of the Egyptian authorities,
the Zionist army, US, UN and European observers.
When one spent some
time in the northern Sinai and at the Rafah crossing, we can see clearly why
Egypt is not in a hurry to open the Rafah crossing and why the statements of
the Quartet, the Union European and United States are mere hypocrisy.
Any observer, even without knowing the language, can see it.
there are the external signs of wealth: big cars, new pickups nothing to do
with what can be seen elsewhere in Egypt.
Indeed, hundreds of these
flashing pickups, blue, green, red, ply routes between the Suez Canal and
Rafah. They carry all equipment or commodities that the Gazans will pay 7
times their price.
A local activist told me that according to their
colors, one could recognize the businessman who heads the network, in
general, a Sinai Bedouin dignitary and this traffic is necessarily
well-known to Egyptian authorities, given the large number of checkpoints
placed on this road and the presence of intelligence on these checkpoints.
These vehicles plied the streets of Rafah, where they blithely pass the
dozens of police checkpoints set up in the city and move smoothly in front
of the United Nations observation post.
They also spend on a daily
basis in front of the international forces based in the Sinai, 25 km from
Rafah, from which the American troops convoys come every day at Gate of
Rafah to monitor that the blockade of Gaza is well maintained.
really shows the hypocrisy of the world leaders and the Quartet when they
call Israel to lift the Gaza siege.
The problem is not just the
general hypocrisy about the tunnels, but also the organized racket of
Palestinians attempting to enter or leave Gaza.
Any Palestinian who
was fortunate, for whatever reason, usually a medical problem, obtains an
authorization to leave Gaza from the Palestinian Authority and thus,
consequently, from Israelis and Egyptians, is granted a limited period to
his stay in Egypt or abroad.
But if he tries to return to Gaza after
being stuck for days or weeks in Egypt due to the closure of the border, he
must pay a "delay" fee to the Egyptian authorities, this is added to 90 EGP
(11.5 €) that everyone must pay to enter Palestine.
I would say that
to return to Gaza, it is better to be a member of Fatah and coordinate with
the representative of the Palestinian Authority in Al Arish, of course,
always against a certain sum of money.
To better trap the
Palestinians, the Egyptian authorities do not provide information on the
procedures for entry into Gaza and announce the dates for the opening of the
border only a few days before.
Indeed, according to an agreement
between Hamas and Egypt, the border should be open 2 days per month, which
is also a shame because when the border is open, thousands of people are
flocking to the Rafah Gate and the entry into Gaza is a mess in the most
complete. (Today, there is 1 month the border has not been opened and no
dates have been announced by the Egyptian authorities!)
To deal with
this overflow of people, the Egyptian authorities deploy these days hundreds
of riot police who do not hesitate to beat Palestinians and prohibit vehicle
access within 500 meters of the border.
Again, the Palestinians are
victims of racket. In order to carry their heavy suitcases up the border,
they must pay the same Bedouin renting a cart at an exorbitant price.
And these days, while increasing, even the location of a taxi from Al Arish,
which can go from 30 EGP (€ 4) to about 300 EGP (40 €).
Palestinian Egyptian leases a vehicle to enter in Gaza the goods he bought
in Egypt, he must pay 125 EGP (16 €) per person to the Egyptian authorities
managing the Rafah crossing.
I have not speak, of course, about the
price stays in hotels of Al Arish where everyone was obliged to stay until
the opening of the border, which benefits the local hotel industry.
During my stay in the camp that we installed at the Rafah Gate, in protest
against the siege, I even witnessed a very strange event: the biggest Sinai
importers and manufacturers lunched at the cafeteria near the Rafah Gate
after a very important meeting inside the Rafah Crossing. A few hours
earlier, I also saw the convoy of U.S. Armed Forces.
inside? And which agreements have been reached? I could not get answers to
my questions but I got right to the Egyptian hospitality and I was invited
to participate in their meals.
In short, I would say that in the
northern Sinai, everyone benefits from the embargo and not just the
businessmen who are leading the industry tunnels.
equally outrageous is the problem of those who use the blockade of Gaza to
get a reputation and are welcome as heroes by the inhabitants of Gaza when
they managed to temporarily break the blockade.
Upon crossing the
border is closed so tight and it encourages the Gazans to accept their
Let me just add that the Palestinians in Gaza do not
need charity, but they need freedom.
They do not need heroes because
they are the heroes!
To all those who are curious to understand how
runs the embargo, to see how the Egyptian American, Arab and European
authorities abetted Israel in maintaining this illegal blockade, a human
rights violation, to see how the Egyptian authorities extorts money from the
Palestinians and mistreat them, we invite you to spend some time at the
We call the europeans activists to ask the European
Union Council to immediately cancel the Mission EUBAM-Rafah whose mandate
was extended until 24 November 2009*. This mission is still based in
Ashkelon in Israel. It does absolutely nothing to help Palestinians stranded
in Egypt and gives an excuse to Egypt in this crime against humanity.
We encourage U.S. activists to keep pressure on their government and to ask
questions about the role of the U.S. Armed Forces in Egypt and particularly
at the Rafah Gate.
Finally, we must all continue to put pressure on
our respective governments to force Israel to respect human rights and the
UN Charter Israel (even if it is a little lost cause!) and Egypt (may be
too!) and to lift the Gaza Siege, FOR GOOD!
We must continue to
organize demonstrations in front of Israelis embassies, everwhere ! Let us
occupy Egyptians embassies!
Free Palestine, Free Gaza
You can also read Iman's testimonies at these links :
Without Borders (Time to Help Gaza)
Here's the link
to the article.
International Movement to Open
united world against oppression will help unite and free all of Palestine."
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence
within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any
country, including his own, and to return to his country