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Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.

It is not the Congress persons who rise repeatedly to applause that is significant in the broader scheme but rather the gates that swing open to allow Palestinians to go to and fro from Gaza.

Al Jazeera reports:

Egypt has reopened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, allowing people to cross freely for the first time in four years – a sharp departure from the policies of former president Hosni Mubarak.The opening on Saturday morning provided long-awaited relief for Palestinians – a move ushered in by Egypt’s new government in a bid to ease the suffering of Gaza residents.

Al Jazeera’s Nicole Johnston, reporting from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, said there will still be restrictions in place, preventing men younger than 40 from leaving the coastal territory. “It will allow basically all women to leave Gaza, also children under the age of 18 years will be allowed to leave, as well as men over the age of 40 years. However, those between the ages of 18 and 40 years will require an Egyptian visa,” she said. “Visas would have to come from Ramallah. Sources in Hamas say they have been told by the Egyptian authorities over the last few weeks that they [Egyptians] do intend to open some sort of representative office inside Gaza, so that people can get the visa from there.”

Among the first to cross the reopened border post were two ambulances ferrying patients from the hitherto-blockaded Gaza Strip for treatment in Egypt as well as a minibus carrying a dozen visitors. About 400 Gazans were reported to be waiting at the crossing. The crossing is seen as the main gateway for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip. Among the other border posts, it is the only crossing not controlled by Israel. Rafah has been mostly closed since 2007 when Israel imposed a siege on Gaza after Hamas took over the Strip.

In addition Harriet Sherwood in The Guardian notes:

The opening of the border was intended “to ease the suffering of the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip”, an Egyptian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Menha Bakhoum, told the Jerusalem Post. “This is a sovereign Egyptian decision,” not taken in consultation with any other country, she added.

Apart from Rafah, all other crossings from Gaza are into Israel, and are tightly controlled. The blockade had created a “prison camp” in Gaza, David Cameron said last July.

Meanwhile, 21 prominent Israeli leftwingers have issued an open letter supporting the Palestinian campaign for recognition of an independent state in September. “As Israelis, we avow that if and when the Palestinian people declares independence in a sovereign state to exist side by side with Israel in peace and security we shall support such declaration,” the letter said. It also appealed for the international community to back recognition.

The Arab Spring continues to flower.


At Raw Story, Larry Wilkerson reportedly suggests that the driver of the obsequiousness of the US Congress to Netanyahu was money, and the implication the money tap could be turned off. That is the way the system works. His suggestion there is guilt about the way that Jews were treated at the time of Holocaust is less plausible.

The role of IBM in the processing of the Holocaust has gone largely unreported.

It turns out that only 440 Palestinians were allowed into Egypt. Naturally there were many disappointed applicants.

Every individual has their own story. For example, Ramzy Baroud, as reported by GTV.



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