July 8, 2013. Rafah Crossing, between Gaza and Egypt, has been closed since Friday afternoon following a period when it operated under restricted conditions. According to the Palestinian Crossings Authority, current to today, about 10,000 Palestinians are waiting inside Gaza for the crossing to open. The Crossings Authority has stopped signing people up on the list to exit via Egypt.
Palestinian sources on the Egyptian side of the crossing report that about 150 people are waiting at the crossing itself in order to return home to Gaza, while about 800 pilgrims are stuck in Saudi Arabia and more are waiting in other countries. This following a decision by Egypt to prevent travel to the Cairo airport of Palestinians whose registered address is in Gaza while Rafah Crossing remains closed. According to media reports, some Palestinians who managed to arrive are being held at the airport while others were deported to the countries they came from at their own expense.
In addition, the Ministry of Health in Gaza reports that there are about 80 people who need to travel to Egypt to receive medical treatment.
It is not clear how long the crossing will remain closed or what kinds of negotiation efforts are taking place between the Hamas authorities and Egypt to restore operations.
Despite the fact that Egyptian security forces continue to work to shut down tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, on Saturday, operations resumed in some of the tunnels used for the transfer of fuel and construction materials for the first time in approximately 10 days, yet shortages remain. As a result, for example, the price of one ton of cement in Gaza was 840 NIS yesterday compared to 480 NIS normally.