With No Introductions, Rafah Border.

This article was originally published on Sama News Agency website in Arabic on Tuesday June 28, 2011 12:39 by Bilal Jadallah.

“With no introductions, Rafah border.. A bus for the friends!! VIP for officials!! Registration, doors, and walls closed in the face of the simple.”

With no introductions, there’s a pile of questions and question marks regarding what happens on the Palestinian side of Rafah border where, the Borders And Crossing Authority is, where the borders are closed in the face of the simple, open to those in power wherever they want, whenever they want and however they want. Which is considered now as nothing but carelessness of manners, values, and human rights of the simple:

• Why do thousands of travellers register their names months before they actually travel and wait endless lists of names, while there is many of those in power who can travel and come back several times without the need to register their names like the others who wait their turn to travel the thing that causes people to travel later than the scheduled date and time in the official list and the reason is those who travel without having their names registered “legally”?
• Why does the simple stay in busses for long hours in the hot summer waiting to get in while those in power travel with their own cars and SUVs with shaded windows without the need to register. They come and leave through the border’s gates whenever they want in front of the simple neglecting their feelings?
• Why isn’t a regular person allowed to enter the Rafah border with his own car to bring friends/relatives from the arrivals halls? While tens of cars belonging to those in power to do that in a daily basis?
• Why is it allowed to some officials and their relatives and friends to travel with their own cars AND in front of the simple neglecting their feelings while the simple can’t even think about it?
• Why do some officials pass by travellers in both arrivals and departure halls without asking them if they are okay or listen to them?

• Why don’t people see any officials or anybody in power travel in busses like everybody else?
• Why are people stuffed in a small, hot place between two gates without any official bothering to order AC units for the hall that doesn’t need more than three only as well as repairing the hall and make it more comfortable for the travellers? And why don’t they build some halls equipped for them by the doors of the border instead of having them, their women and children burnt under the hot sun? If there’s not enough money, there are many businessmen and merchants welling to do that under their supervision!
• Why don’t they get the convoys that come in solidarity with Gaza through the border’s main crowded gate? Similar to what happened with the Miles of Smiles convoy that has left Gaza last Saturday which entered Gaza from the border’s back gate so they don’t get to meet the crowded travellers stuck at the main gate! Is there a better model of suffering that requires more solidarity than this or is it something that has to do with not wanting to bother the people who came with the convoy so they don’t get to face what people face being stuck at the border gates?
• Why do some travellers are asked to get off the busses waiting to travel for example to Umrah or Hajj after a long wait while the reason is that there are some official who have just arrived with in their own cars and want to leave in the first busses even if it meant that some poor travellers will get off the busses for them without even an excuse or an apology?
• Why not stop playing with people’s feelings everyday as announcements are made telling that new travel arrangements and changes will take place and nothing changes in the following day?
These are a few questions that people ask and they wish for clear answers unless someone tries to deny that, I advise they go to the Rafah border for an hour tomorrow. All you have to do is sit at the café by the gates and see what happens with your own eyes and only then you will believe what I am saying and even witness more than what I have just wrote here. All of what I wrote here is from what I have seen with my own eyes. I didn’t write anything of what the people say.

Maybe someone would say that i am exaggerating things at the border because things are not under control from the Palestinian side, and there’s a lot of pressure and this is beyond the capabilities of those who work at the border and there’s nothing they can do. And here I would like to assure you that all what’s being asked from you is something you could do, otherwise, that is something for God to decide.

Finally, this has to stop right now and the people have to be treated all equally and their feelings must be respected and prioritize those who really need to travel.

Originally written in Arabic by: Bilal Jadallah.
Translated into English by: Nader K.

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About Nader Elkhuzundar

Nader Elkhuzundar is a commentator on Palestinian affairs and Co-founder of Beyond Compromise (www.beyondcompromise.com). Elkhuzundar occasionally freelances for The Guardian, International Business Times, and others. He's a social media enthusiast and tech savvy with particular interest in new technologies and analytics, and enjoys reading over Arabic coffee and dark chocolate.
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