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Tens of Thousands of Palestinians Seeking Basic Supplies Flood Egypt For Second Day
by via Democracy Now
Thursday Jan 24th, 2008 7:56 AM
Thursday, January 24, 2008 :Thousands of Palestinians are pouring into Egypt from Gaza for a second consecutive day after militants destroyed most of a border wall in the town of Rafah on Wednesday. Gazans are rushing across the border to stock up on food, fuel, medicines, and other basic supplies which have become scarce or unaffordable after months of economic isolation. We go to Gaza to speak with Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer and to to Tel Aviv to speak with Israeli journalist Gideon Levy.
Thousands of Palestinians are pouring into Egypt from Gaza for a second consecutive day after militants destroyed most of a border wall in the town of Rafah on Wednesday. Gazans are rushing across the border to stock up on food, fuel, medicines, and other basic supplies which have become scarce or unaffordable after months of economic isolation.

Hundreds of Egyptian security forces have moved into the area but are so far making no attempt to stem the traffic.

According to Time magazine, over 350,000 Palestinians have crossed the border, nearly one fifth of Gaza’s entire population. Dismissed Palestinian Prime Minister and Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh said the border crossing was a direct result of the siege.

The border crossing comes on the sixth day of an Israeli blockade that has cut off all deliveries to Gaza. Israel says it is trying to stop Palestinian militants from launching rockets at nearby Israeli towns. Over the past 10 days, more than 200 rockets and mortars have been fired into Israel, lightly wounding 10 people. Meanwhile over the same period, Israeli army raids in Gaza have killed more than 40 people.

Israel said it bore no responsiblity for security at the Rafah crossing but expected that Egypt would reseal the border with Gaza and stop allowing the free passage of Palestinians. But Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has not indicated when he plans to close the crossing. He told reporters Wednesday that he allowed Palestinians to come into Egypt because they were starving. President Mubarak’s comment came after days of protests against the Egyptian government’s support for Israel.

For the latest news from Gaza I am now joined on the phone from Gaza by Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer. He lives in the Rafah refugee camp and writes for several publications including the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He maintains a blog at RafahToday.org. He just returned from Rahaf and joins me on the line from Gaza city. We are also joined now on the phone from Tel Aviv by Israeli journalist Gideon Levy who is a regular columnist for Ha’aretz. He was recently awarded the 2008 Euro-Med Journalist Prize for Cultural Dialogue.

Mohammed Omer, Palestinian journalist from Rafah. He writes for several publications including the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. He maintains a blog at RafahToday.org.

Gideon Levy, Israeli journalist with Ha’aretz newspaper. He was recently awarded the 2008 Euro-Med Journalist Prize for Cultural Dialogue.

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