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Rafah Mosque Rugs Become Beds for Palestinians
RAFAH, Egypt — The mosques of the Egyptian city of Rafah on the borders with occupied Palestine have for years become emblems of the excellent symbiosis that has developed between the Egyptians and the Palestinians, particularly at times of Palestinian need.
Denied return to their home country, thousands of Palestinian women, children and elders remain stranded on the Egyptian side of the border with no food or shelter.
Far from baffling them, the rugs, the pulpits and the Qur'anic verses inscribed on the walls of Rafah mosques never fail to give the Palestinians the comfort they search for.
They make a diametric turn in no time, becoming a place where the wounded can find treatment, the hungry food and the puffy-eyed a place for rest.
Imams have called upon every body to present whatever help possible to the Palestinians.
On Friday, some2 , 000Palestinians forced their way into the Gaza Strip past Egyptian and Palestinian security after a hole was blown in the border wall.
The border crossing, the Palestinians only window to the outside world, has been closed almost continuously since the June 25 capture of an Israeli soldier by Palestinian resistance groups.
The crossing is run under Palestinian and Egyptian management and supervised by 70 European Union observers.
Much of a place that struggles to compensate the Palestinians for the suffering the Israelis inflict on them, Rafah residents brook no delay in presenting the Palestinians with whatever milk, food, pillows and cloth they have at their homes.
"We feel the enormity of the suffering of the Palestinians the most," Abu Rami, one of many Egyptians tending the Palestinians at a Rafah mosque, patronizingly said.
"We see the curfews the soldiers of Israel impose on them with our bear eyes everyday, hear the shells that tear their infrastructure to pieces with our sheer ears."
Abu Rami and his ilk present whatever assistance they can afford to the Palestinians.
"The mosques could not accommodate all the Palestinians," he said.
"That was why we hung leaflets on the walls calling upon people to provide housing for stranded Palestinians."
Abu Rami said he, for example, hosted some Palestinian patients at his home.