The Rafah Border Crossing In Egypt-A History Of The Openings And Closings

The Rafah Border crossing is the only crossing point between Gaza and Egypt and between the state of Palestine and Egypt. The Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty of 1979 recognized the Gaza-Egypt border for the first time in1979. The name of this point was Rafah land port earlier. The Rafah Border crossing only allows the people to pass through it. For the passage of traffic and all kinds of goods one has to use the Kerem Shalom Border crossing.


The gates

The Israel Airports authority use to manage the Rafah land port which was the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt until 11 September 2005 when Israel had disconstructed its settlement. The Rafah land port is known as the Salal al-Gate. The Rafah land port was bombarded by the Israeli in October 2009 to destroy the tunnels. The new Rafah crossing point was built to the south of Rafah.


It was in the year 2005 that the Israeli disengaged themselves from the Rafah border crossing, since then the monthly number of entries and exits through the Rafah crossing reached around forty thousand. However after the capture of the Isreli soldier Gilad Shalit in June 2006 the crossing remained closed for over senty six percent of the time and finally after the Hamas took over the Gaza strip the Rafah border crossing was permanently closed except for limited openings once in two to three months.

Closures of the border

From the years 2005 to July 2007 both Egypt and Palestine were together in control of the Rafah Border crossing. The crossing was opened on a daily basis until 2006.The Hamas led Government gave threats that would terminate the Rafah border crossing agreement if border crossing was not reopened. However from June 25 to 21 October 2006 the crossing point was open for a total number of fourteen days.


Thousands of Palestinians on waiting list at Rafah

It was in May 2016 that for the first time in three months Egypt opened its borders with gaza. After Israel imposed a siege on the Gaza strip in 2007 The Rafah border is the only gateway for the Palestinians in Gaza.

As a result of the total closure, around one point eight million people is under arrest condition in the Gaza strip which is causing real distress to their mental well being. A total of around thirty thousand people are still waiting to cross at Rafah and all these people are residents of Gaza. It was after Abdel Fattah el-Sisi together with the Egyptian military usurped the rule of President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 that the relations with Gaza went from bad to worse.

Thus the people residing at Gaza are going through a very tough time. Thousands of people are in the waiting list to cross the Rafah border crossing.

Rafah is a city with a long history. It dates back 3000 years to the time when it was a stop along a route the military took to help protect the region.

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