Last week, Egyptian President Abd al-Fatah al-Sisi announced the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for the entire month of Ramadan, which he said was “in order to ensure the easing of the burdens on the brothers in the Gaza Strip.”
The crossing, which serves as the main gateway to the outside world for the 2 million Palestinians besieged in Gaza, has remained largely closed since Sisi’s rise to power.
We spoke to several Palestinians — students going abroad to study or in search of jobs, people traveling to reunite with families, and injured protesters seeking treatment in Jordan — as they waited for their chance to leave Gaza. The journey out of Gaza is far from simple, as only a select number of Palestinians with permission are allowed to leave.
Most of the Gazans at the crossing were anxious to leave the small coastal enclave, which has suffered from decade-long Israeli siege that has plunged Gaza into extreme poverty and some of the highest unemployment rates in the world. The UN has said the territory could become “uninhabitable” by 2020.