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UN: Egypt opened Rafah Crossing for five days in four months

June 2, 2015 at 2:05 pm

The United Nations Office for Human Rights Coordination (OCHA) said on Monday that Egypt only opened the Rafah Crossing for five days from the beginning of this year until the end of April.

In a report published on its website, the OCHA said that around 5,000 people were able to travel through the crossing in both directions during this period.

“Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from Gaza have undermined the living conditions of 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza,” the UN organisation said.

It added: “Due to the Israeli restriction connected to the siege, Rafah Crossing became the sole terminal for movement into and out of the Gaza Strip. However, the Egyptian authorities have imposed severe restrictions since June 2013.”

According to the OCHA, the Crossing was closed for 97 days in the second half of 2013, following the military coup that ousted elected Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, compared with only five days during the first half of the same year.

In 2014, it opened for only 158 days, and less than 100,000 people were able to go through the crossing. In wake of a deadly attack against Egyptian soldiers in Sinai, the crossing was completely closed until the end of that year with few exceptions.

The report also commented that it is “an issue of life and death” regarding the arrival and treatment of Palestinian patients in Egyptian hospitals. Most Palestinian patients would die if they did not receive urgent treatment in Egyptian hospitals.

The movement of commodities towards the Gaza Strip has also almost stopped. Since 3 July, 2014, no freight lorries have been allowed in to Gaza, while at the end of last months; 15 aid lorries were allowed into the Strip.

The Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah Crossing from Tuesday to Thursday last week and allowed people stranded in Egypt to go back to Gaza.