Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Thousands of Palestinians stuck for more than a month at Rafah Crossing

Since early June, an estimated 4000 to 6000 Palestinians have been held at the Rafah Crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, unable to return to their homes. Many came to Egypt for medical treatment or to study. Between eleven and 28 Palestinians have reportedly died as a result of the deteriorating conditions at the border crossing.

The Rafah Crossing in the northern Sinai has been closed since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip and its cargo crossings. Hamas leader Ismail Haniye and three Palestinian resistance groups have released statements urging the Egyptian government to address the humanitarian crisis and reopen the border, according to Arab Monitor. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has called for an international force in the Gaza Strip to “guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid and to allow citizens to enter and leave freely,” according to MidEast Daily News.

On July 7, about 100 Palestinians, who are being held in El Arish airport without Egyptian visas, went on a hunger strike to protest their conditions, according Arab Monitor. Those at the airport are currently living off aid organizations in El Arish, but “their numbers are growing, and they include women, children and elderly people. The conditions are very difficult. It is very hot, they have to sleep on the floor and they share one bathroom,” an airport official said.

Director of the ambulance and emergency department in the Palestinian ministry of health, Dr. Mu’awiya Hassanein, announced on July 7 that 28 Palestinians who had traveled to Egypt for medical treatment and were waiting at the border crossing had died, according to Uruknet.info. In the MidEast Daily News, Abbas said that 11 have died as a result of the conditions.

Sources in the Israeli defense establishment said Tuesday that Egypt had given Israel a list of hundreds of Palestinians they intended to allow back into Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing, Israel Radio reported.

For the full articles, click here and here and here and here .


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