Barred from travel to Egypt, Gazans abroad stranded


Published today (updated) 28/02/2011 17:06



GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Palestinians registered as residents of the Gaza Strip wishing to return home have been stranded since the outbreak of protests in Egypt, when officials barred Palestinians from entering the country amidst the overthrow of the political leadership.

On Monday, a group of the stranded Palestinians sent a letter to Egypt’s de facto leader Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi asking him to allow them travel via Egypt and through the Rafah crossing home.

“We, your brothers and children who are stranded in Arab and Islamic countries have been left in a helpless position. Some of us suffer illnesses and injuries by Israeli fire. Others are students who have not been in touch with their families. We have run into financial and psychological troubles and we can’t afford to stay abroad. Thus, we appeal to you to end our suffering and allow us to return to Palestine,” the message read.

Though the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza opened for Palestinians in Egypt returning home periodically in the days after 25 January and the outbreak of protests, it did not open for Palestinians in Gaza to enter Egypt until 15 February.

At the Cairo airport, Palestinians were prohibited from entering Egypt without prior permission or study permits, leaving some 150 stranded and unable to leave the terminal and travel north to Gaza.

As the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak loomed, Palestinians called for emerging leaders to open the Rafah crossing and allow Palestinians to move freely in and out of Gaza.

Following Mubarak’s hand over of power to a military committee, the Rafah crossing was opened, but restrictions were maintained, allowing only Palestinians with medical referrals, study permits and foreign passports to cross through the border.

Restrictions at the Cairo airport and other land crossings remain in place for Palestinians.

Maan News Agency: Barred from travel to Egypt, Gazans abroad stranded.

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