On Sunday (Jan. 13) and Monday (Jan. 14) two different Egyptian guards stationed at the Rafah border refused to allow me to enter Gaza. I was returning after a short visit to Cairo, having lived in Gaza since September teaching environmental engineers about climate change. The Egyptian border guards had no questions about my visit to Gaza when I first crossed in September.
- What is different in January from last September when I first arrived in Gaza?
- Why did it take the border guard nearly 3 hours to turn me away on Sunday, and only 15 minutes on Monday?
- Why did the border guard refuse to talk on the phone with my contact in Gaza?
- Why were the same two men in plain clothes standing outside of the gate both days talking to the border guards and one of them was pointing to me with a cocky smile on his face?
- Why was I told so many different reasons for turning me away, including:
“You don’t have permission from Gaza”
“You need permission from the U.S. Embassy”
“Your paper from the Palestinian National Authority makes no difference.”
Inquiring minds want to know!! Who is really occupying Gaza? Israel? Egypt? or the United States of America?