CAIRO: The policy at the Rafah border crossing regarding movement into Gaza discriminates against Palestinians, the International Movement to Open the Rafah Border (IMORB) claimed Thursday.
In a statement released to the press, the group claimed that after personally observing the border for almost two weeks, a discriminatory policy including mistreatment of Palestinians seeking entry into the strip, was evident.
“Throughout the 13 days that we have monitored the border situation, we have witnessed hundreds of Palestinians being denied entry to Gaza, even with proper visas, the group said in the statement.
“The Rafah border policy is arbitrary and discriminates against Palestinians. They are often treated with callous disrespect by border authorities and personnel, it added.
Currently, there are 10 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – all Palestinian – at the Rafah border crossing who have been denied entry since Wednesday, even though they all possess international passports and readmission letters signed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Though 90 Palestinians who had been seeking treatment in Egypt were allowed to return to Gaza Wednesday, the crossing is expected to be opened both ways for three days starting Saturday.
IMORB member Don Bryant told Daily News Egypt, “There’s been so many [Palestinians turned back], hopefully they’ll manage to get in on Saturday. We do know that they are spending too much money in Egypt just waiting, children are getting sick, it’s just an inconvenience.
IMORB claims hundreds of Palestinians have been turned back in the past 13 days the delegation has been camped at the border crossing.
“IMORB sees this as an abuse of power and without regard for family structural needs. Palestinian families and individuals are usually delayed for days to weeks to months, experiencing hardship and forced to stay in hotels in nearby Rafah or Al-Arish, 35 km from the border, the statement read.
“Even Palestinians with US passports are stalled, and must return to the US without ever visiting their families in Gaza. There is no accountability for the abuses and discrimination towards Palestinians by Egyptian Intelligence or border authorities, it added.