Only the dead enter Gaza
Puruant to my last post, what follows is a gripping press release issued by the Mezan Centre for Human Rights today about the situation on Rafah.
During 45 days of Israel's closing of the Rafah Crossing, the corpses of 19 Palestinian dead men and women have been allowed to cross into the Gaza Strip through Kerem Shalom Crossing. The some living 6,000 people have been denied entry under complete silence from the part of the international community.
Israel closed the Crossing after the eruption of clashes in Gaza on 10 June 2007. Israel claims that the closure is motivated by the fact that there has been no Palestinian acceptable counterpart to coordinate the opening of the Crossing with, after Hamas' taking over of Gaza. Nevertheless, the Crossing had been frequently closed for months before Hamas came to power. Civilians were occasionally allowed to cross in and out Gaza without Israeli or international presence in the Crossing.
According to medical sources, there are 87 medical cases at the Al Areesh town and 103 others in Cairo. Many of those could die before returning to their homes. Until today, 19 people died. Their corpses were allowed to pass into Gaza. In addition, 78 Palestinians have been kept in custody inside Al Areesh Airport because they lack visas to enter Egypt. They will remain there until the Crossing opens.
Considering previous practice, Al Mezan does not see any reasonable reasons justifying Israel's refusal to open the Crossing for a few days and allow Palestinian women, men and children at both sides of the border to access their homes or urgent medical and other services.
Al Mezan views with much concern the continued closure of Rafah Crossing. The prolonged closure represents a form of collective punishment of civilians without any justified necessity. Al Mezan condemns Israel's restrictive measures against civilians, which poses threats on the life and wellbeing of thousands....