Ramzy Baroud writes:
“Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country,” states Article 13 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This universal principle, however, continues to evade most Palestinians in Gaza. I was one of the very first Palestinians who stood at Rafah following the announcement of a “permanent” opening. Our bus waited at the gate for a long time. I watched a father repeatedly try to reassure his crying 6-year-old child, who displayed obvious signs of a terrible bone disease.
“Get the children out or they will die,” shouted an older passenger as he gasped for air. The heat in the bus, combined with the smell of trapped sweat was unbearable.
Passengers took it upon themselves to leave the bus and stand outside, enduring disapproving looks from the Egyptian officials. Our next task was finding clean water and a shady spot in the arid zone separating the Egypt and Palestinian sides. There were no restrooms.
A tangible feeling of despair and humiliation could be read on the faces of the Gaza passengers. No one seemed to be in the mood to speak of the Egyptian revolution, a favorite topic of conversation among most Palestinians. This zone is governed by an odd relationship, one that goes back many years — well before Egypt, under Hosni Mubarak, decided to shut down the border in 2006 in order to aid in the political demise of Hamas.
The issue actually has nothing to do with gender, age or logistics. All Palestinians are treated very poorly at the Rafah crossing, and they continue to endure even after the toppling of Mubarak, his family and the dismissal of the corrupt security apparatus. The Egyptian revolution is yet to reach Gaza.