Rafah crossing closure leaves hundreds of Palestinians stranded


Published: 2018-02-13 13:00

Last Updated: 2018-02-13 14:59

Palestinian at Rafah Border Crossing. (Image taken by: Ashraf Abu Amrah)
Palestinian at Rafah Border Crossing. (Image taken by: Ashraf Abu Amrah)
Roya News Source

Following the Egyptian authorities decision to close Rafah Border Crossing between Gaza and Egypt the Euro-Mediterranean (Euro-Med) Human Rights Monitor warned of the distressing situation of Palestinians stuck on both sides of the crossing and inside Cairo International Airport.

Egyptian authorities announced they will open the border crossing for three days on last Wednesday after about 50 days of closure. However, it was suspended a day earlier than scheduled due to Egyptian military campaign in Sinai. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Egyptian side of the crossing, including patients and students, Wafa news agency reported.

 Read More: Rafah crossing opens for three days

More than 400 Palestinians are held in closed halls at Cairo Airport after the closure of the crossing. Euro-Med received statements from distressed Palestinians at the airport saying that Cairo Airport security were holding about 100 people, mostly patients, students and children, in one room, without providing food, drink or sleeping blankets. The airport security has asked them to return to the countries of origin, Euro-Med said.

The stranded passengers appealed to the Egyptian authorities and the Palestinian embassy in Cairo to quicken their return back to Gaza or find an immediate solution.

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Watch has condemned the record-low rate of permits issued by Israel for Palestinians seeking vital medical treatment outside Gaza. In a joint statement with several humanitarian organizations on Tuesday, they have urged Israel to end its decade-long closure of the Gaza Strip.

Israeli authorities approved permits for medical appointments for only 54 percent of those who applied in 2017. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 54 Palestinians, 46 of whom had cancer, died in 2017 following denial or delay of their permits, the statement read.

In the statement, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), and Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) pointed out the delays in issuing required approvals have further restricted movement and caused additional suffering for Palestinians in Gaza.