Glimmer of hope at Rafah crossing

Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra reports from the Rafah crossing as it briefly opens.

by
    Palestinians wait inside a bus, some are returning to
    the Rafah crossing for a fifth time [Reuters] 

    Guards overwhelmed

    One man tells us this is this is the fifth time he has had to show up on the border.

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    He says he wants the international community to stop the sufferings of the Palestinian people.

    A pregnant woman, Shadia, tells us she is tired, if she fails to cross today, her husband's residence will expire and they won't be able to leave Gaza.

    Her tears are more of frustration than pain, she can't stand the pressure and uncertainty.

    At one moment, the Palestinian security guards on duty were overwhelmed with the massive flow of furious travellers.

    One border guard tells us: "You should know that we are sympathetic with our people, we are here to help them and maintain order … but we want our borders to be under our control".

    Yusra says: "I am sick, I had to borrow money
    to survive, my daughter is also sick"

    Yusra has just arrived from Egypt, but even there, her trip was not an easy one.

    She says: "I am sick, I have just been released from hospital in Egypt.

    "I had to wait for long hours at the crossing point for the last fifteen days.

    "I had to borrow money to survive, and my daughter is also sick".

    EU powerless

    Since the 2005 agreement between the Israelis, the Palestinians and the Egyptians, the Rafah crossing has been operating under the auspices of European Union (EU) observers… a task that turns out to be very delicate.

    Jose Vericat, an EU press officer: "At the end of the day there is just one solution and that is the border returns to normality, and we call on all sides to make sure the border returns to normality. 

    "We are a neutral party, we have no executive powers, we are only here to monitor the situation."

    Those who were lucky today made it to the final point, and once their passport was stamped, they knew nothing could now stop them from seeing the rest of the world.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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