• Home »
  • Blog » Palestine News
  • » CALL FROM GAZA: OPEN THE RAFAH CROSSING PERMANENTLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY
  • CALL FROM GAZA: OPEN THE RAFAH CROSSING PERMANENTLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY

    AROC is honored to sign on to the below statement coming directly from organizations and civil society in Gaza.

    Article 13 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states that:

    (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

    (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

    This article follows others that unequivocally recognize the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of ALL members of the human family, which naturally includes Palestinians. The inalienable right to freedom of movement of the more than 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children who make up the population of the Gaza Strip has been denied by successive Israeli governments and the Mubarak regime which imposed a barbaric siege. Mainstream human rights organizations describe the Gaza Strip as the “largest open-air prison on earth.”

    This deadly siege should have ended when the revolutionary Egyptian movement ousted Hosni Mubarak and his murderous regime during which Egyptians in their millions made clear that their emancipation and the freedom of Palestine were their joint and connected goals.

    This raised the hopes of Palestinians in Gaza, the West Bank, 1948 Palestine and the shatat (diaspora), as well as millions of others around the world, that the Egyptian government and the Supreme Military Council would finally break the blockade of Gaza, as Egyptians clearly wanted. We expected the Rafah Crossing to be treated as a sovereign border between two states, as open as all other Egyptian border crossings, including those with Libya, Sudan and Israel.   This would ensure the dignity and free movement of Palestinians, and all travelers, to and from the Gaza Strip.

    Former Egyptian Foreign Minister, Dr. Nabil Al-Arabi, made very encouraging initial statements that the previous Egyptian government’s treatment of Gaza was “disgraceful” and that the Rafah Crossing would be opened permanently. On 25 May 2011, Egypt’s official Middle East News Agency announced the permanent opening of Rafah. The former rules at the Crossing were to be reinstated, thus allowing Palestinians with passports to cross into Egypt every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except for Fridays and holidays. According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Palestinian women and children would be able to leave Gaza without restrictions, while men between the ages of 18 and 40 would have to obtain visas to enter Egypt. Thus more than 60 per cent of Gazans would be able to cross without requiring visas.

    This decision of the government post-revolution was implemented for just two days: 28-29 May 2011, and this Rafah Crossing policy was in reality retracted without any formal announcement. The current number allowed to pass each day has been reduced to an arbitrary figure of between 160-300 travelers.

    The sudden about-turn comes in the midst of the worst medical crisis that Gaza has ever suffered. Most operations have been put on hold as needed basic supplies are not available. Thousands of students have lost the opportunity to further their studies abroad because they have not been able to travel to their universities. Residency permits for Arab and foreign countries of thousands of other Gazans expired when they couldn’t leave Gaza.

    The current system requires every potential traveler to register online with the Gaza Ministry of Interior and confirm this registration with the Ministry of Transport. The number registered to cross as of the end of June exceeds 20,000, and with the daily rate of travelers at the Crossing restricted to a maximum of 300, the possibility of crossing before mid-September is almost nil.

    Those who travel via Rafah face inhumane conditions: standing for long hours in the heat, then escorted by police to Cairo airport, and then waiting in a holding cell until departure. No other citizens in the world have to endure this humiliation, uncertainty and indignity by another country when they choose to exercise their right to leave their own country.

    Palestinians demand freedom of movement now!

    These restrictions should no longer be imposed on Palestinian people. It is an offense to the immense ongoing struggles of the Egyptian people in pursuit of human rights for the present Egyptian authorities to so quickly break promises made to them.

    Under the Geneva Conventions we are all entitled to freedom of movement and protection from collective punishment such as the arbitrary closure of the Crossing.

    Our demand, therefore, is the permanent and free movement of Palestinians, without distinction or limitation of any kind, through the Rafah Crossing.
    Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU)

    University Teachers’ Association in Palestine (UTAP)

    Palestinian Students’ Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel (PSCABI)

    General Union of Youth Entities (GUYE)

    Palestinian Youth Against Israeli Apartheid (PYAIA)

    Arab Cultural Forum

    One Democratic State Group (ODSG)

    Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Palestine

    Campaign for the Right to Enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory

    Karama Campaign for the Free Movement of Palestinians

    Palestine Justice Network

    Palestinian Center for Rapprochement Between People (Beit Sahour)

    Al-Rowwad Center (Aida Refugee Camp)

    Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, Egypt

    People’s Socialist Alliance Party (PSAP), Egypt

    Democratic Workers Party, Egypt

    Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights

    The Free Egyptian Movement

    National Front for Justice and Democracy, Egypt

    Popular Democratic Movement for Change, Egypt [HASHD]

    ElNadim Centre for the psychological rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture, Egypt

    Hisham Mubarak Law Center, Egypt

    Arabic Network for Human Rights Information

    Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, Egypt

    We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with this demand for basic human rights of the people of Gaza and Egypt:

    Tariq Ali, author and activist, UK

    Radwa Ashour, author, Egypt

    Mona Baker, St. Jerome Publishing, UK

    Oren Ben-Dor, School of Law, Southampton, UK

    Phyllis Bennis, Institute for Policy Studies, US

    Haim Bresheeth, University of East London

    Martin Caton, Member of Parliament, UK

    Richard Falk, Professor of International Law, Princeton University

    James C. Faris

    Bill Fletcher, Jr., BlackCommentator.com editorial board

    Keith Hammond, University of Glasgow

    Nelly Hanna, American University in Cairo, Egypt

    Richard Hudson, FBA, London

    Colin Imber

    Najaty Jabary, Medico, Spain

    Fanny and Sonja Karkar, Australia

    Ronnie Kasrils, former South African Government Minister, author and activist

    Muhammad Ali Khalidi, York University, Toronto

    Erwin Lanc, ret. Federal Minister of the Republic of Austria, Yosefa Loshitzky, London

    Ian Macdonald, London

    Mike Marqusee, author

    Nur Masalha, St. Mary’s University College and SOAS, University of London

    Hajo Mayer, Holland

    Christl Meyer, Women In Black, Vienna, Austria

    Gail Miller, Women of A Certain Age, U.S. Boat To Gaza

    Fanny-Michaela Reisin, International League of Human Rights-FIDH, AEDH German

    Section (President), Jewish Voice for a Just Peace (EJJP Germany)

    Dalia Said Mostafa, University of Manchester

    Mai Perez Apraiz, Empresaria, Spain

    Steven Rose, Open University, UK

    Ibrahim Jabary Salamanca, Empresario, Spain

    Pilar Salamanca, Escritora, Spain

    Waltraud Schauer, Austria

    Suleiman Sharkh, University of Southampton, UK

    Lidon Soriano, Spain

    Ahdaf Soueif, author, Egypt

    Baroness Jenny Tonge, UK

    Waltraud Torossian

    Desmund Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town

    Peter & Joan Unterweger

    Angela Waldegg, Austria

    Organizations:

    Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition

    Al-Awda New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition

    Americans Against the War, France

    American Muslims for Palestine

    Arab Resource and Organizing Center, USA

    Artdialog, Italy

    Artists Against Apartheid, South Africa

    Association Des Univirsitaires Pour le Respect du Droit International en Palestine, France

    Australians for Palestine

    Bay Area Coalition to End Israeli Apartheid, USA

    Bethlehem Group, Glasgow, Scotland

    Black Alliance for Just Immigration

    BRICUP- British Committee for the Universities of Palestine

    British Writers in Support of Palestine (BWISP)

    Canadian Boat to Gaza Campaign

    Caribbean Labour Solidarity

    Catalyst Project, USA

    Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), USA

    Center for Encounter And Active Non-Violence, Austria

    Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid (CAIA)

    CODEPINK, USA

    Collectif Judéo Arabe et Citoyen pour la Paix- Strasbourg, France

    Comitato Varesino per la Palestina, Italy

    Comite De Solidariedade Com A Palestina (Committee for Solidarity with Palestine),

    Portugal

    Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

    Davis Committee for Palestinian Rights, USA

    En Nuestro Nombre No- Tucumán, Argentina

    Farrah France- Strasbourg, France

    Frantz Fanon Foundation, France

    Frauen in Schwarz (Wien) – Women in Black, Vienna, Austria

    Free Palestine Movement

    Friends of Deir Ibzi’a, USA

    Gaza Foundation-Rotterdam, Holland

    Global Compliance Research Project

    Global Exchange, USA

    Global Women’s Strike (GWS)

    Goldsmiths College (University of London) Students’ Union, UK

    Grassroots Global Justice Alliance, USA

    Hadeel Palestinian Fair Trade, Scotland

    Handicap Solidarité- Strasbourg, France

    Headlines Theatre, Canada

    International Forum for Secular Bangladesh, UK

    International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), USA

    International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN), France

    Independent Jewish Voices, Canada

    International Payday Men’s Network

    International Solidarity Movement

    International Solidarity Movement – Northern California

    International Solidarity Movement – Chicago

    Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)

    Israel Divestment Campaign (California), USA

    Italian Peace Research Institute – Net for Civil Peace Corps, Italy

    Kritische Jüdische Stimme (Österreich) – Critical Jewish Voice (Austria)

    Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods (J-BIG), UK

    Jewish Voice for a just Peace in the Middle East (Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in

    Nahost, EJJP, Germany)

    Jewish Voice for Peace, USA

    Jews Say No! USA

    Justice for Palestinians, USA

    LA BDS for Justice in Palestine

    Labor for Palestine, USA

    Leeds Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK

    Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, USA

    Merseyside Jews for Peace and Justice, UK

    Middle East Children’s Alliance

    Middle East Crisis Committee Of Connecticut, USA

    New York City Labor against the War, USA

    Netherlands Palestine Committee (NPK)

    NION – Not in our name – Jews opposing Zionism

    Our Developing World, CA, USA

    Palcrafts Charity, Scotland

    Palestine Action Group, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

    Palestine Solidarity Campaign, UK

    Palestine Solidarity Committee, South Africa

    Palestine Solidarity Alliance, South Africa

    Palestine Solidarity Committee (PKR)-Rotterdam, Holland

    Peace for Life, Johannesburg

    Red Internacional Judía Antisionista (IJAN), Argentina

    Red Thread, Guyana

    RESCOP, the Spanish network of organizations in solidarity with Palestine:

    – Asociacion Al Quds (Malaga)

    – Asociacion Hispano Palestina Jerusalen (Madrid)

    – Asociacion Paz Ahora

    – Asociacion Paz con Dignidad

    – Castello per Palestina

    – Coordinadora de apoyo a Palestina Rioja (La rioja)

    – CSCA (Comite de Solidaridad con la Causa Arabe)

    – Ecologistas en Accion (Madrid, Valladolid)

    – Grupo de ONG por Palestina (Plataforma 2015 y Mas y Federacion de Asociaciones de

    Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos- Espana) + ACSUR

    – ISM Cataluna/Valencia

    – Interpueblos (Cantabria)

    – Izquierda Anticapitalista

    – Komite Internazionalistak (Euskadi)

    – MEWANDO (Euskadi)

    – Mujeres en zona de conflicto (MZC)

    – Mujeres por la Paz- Accion solidaria con Palestina (Canarias)

    – Palestinarik Elkartasuna (Euskadi)

    – Plataforma Palestina Ibiza

    – Plataforma Solidarida con Palestina (Sevilla)

    – Red de Jovenes Palestinos

    – Red de Judios Antisionistas- IJAN

    – REMCODE

    – Sodepau

    – Sodepaz

    – Sodepaz Balamil- Valladolid

    – Talua Per Palestina (Baleares)

    – Xarxa d’enllaC amb Palestina (Barcelona)

    – Xarxa Solidarida Palestina (Valencia)

    Right to Return, (D:AR), France

    Sabeel-DC, USA

    Sacramento Regional Coalition for Palestinian Rights, USA

    Scottish Friends of Palestine

    Scottish Palestine Solidarity Committee – Edinburgh, Scotland

    Siege Busters Working Group

    Silicon Valley De-Bug, USA

    SOAS Palestine Society, UK

    Stop Agrexco Roma

    Stop the Jewish National Fund Campaign, UK

    South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU)

    Trade Union Friends of Palestine (ICTU), Ireland

    Un ponte per, Italy

    US Campaign for the Academic Boycott of Israel

    US Citizens for Peace & Justice

    US Palestinian Community Network

    Vic to Gaza first Convoy, Italy

    War Times/Tiempo de Guerras, USA

    Washington Interfaith Alliance for Middle East Peace, USA

    WESPAC Foundation, NY, USA

    Women in Black- Strasbourg, France

    Women of Color in GWS

    Women for Justice and Peace, UK

    Women for Palestine, Australia

    14 Friends of Palestine, Marin, California, USA

    To add your support, go to: http://www.change.org/petitions/government-open-the-rafah-crossing-permanently-and-unconditionally

    To contact campaign organizers, email: rafahcrossingcampaign@gmail.com