Saturday, November 26, 2005

Rafah Crossing

Palestine moved one step closer to peace with the opening of the Rafah crossing to Egypt. With no international airport open, the Rafah checkpoint is the international gateway into Gaza.

President Abbas was celebrating yesterday at the opening ceremony: "I think every Palestinian now has his passport ready in his pocket. Let them come to cross at this terminal whenever they want." Or as one border crosser put it, "Today is a day of happiness for every Palestinian, the suffering is coming to an end..."

The most prophetic words came from the EU Middle East envoy Mark Otte: "We want to ... transform your borders into bridges with your neighbors and with Israel. Israel is also your neighbor." Secretary Rice said much the same two weeks ago: "This agreement is a good step forward. With the international community, Israel and the Palestinian Authority must keep working hard to make these measures work in practice. As they are implemented, trust can grow. Prime Minister Sharon and President Abbas have shown real statesmanship in making the decisions that led to this agreement."

A map of the Rafah cross-point is available here.

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