Yesterday’s journey across the Sinai and the Rafah border into Gaza was uneventful . . . and THAT is the big news! In the middle of January I was turned away at the border and the Egyptian guards told me “La-La-La-No-No-No”.
They tried to pull that same stunt on me yesterday. The first Egyptian guard did not speak English and when I showed him my passport, he said “La-La-La.” I asked “English?” He said “La”. I said “English!!” a bit more forcefully. I wasn’t going to be turned away this time.
He took me to another guard sitting in a small guardhouse with 5 other men all smoking and acting very casual. He asked me in English “What do you want?” I told him “I want to go to Gaza.” He said “Do you have your papers?” I showed him my passport and told him that my name is on the list. He said “La-la-la.” I told him “Check your list.” [Under my breath, I said “Check your DAMN list!”]
He made a phone call and in less than a minute he told me “You can go.”
I have no idea who he called but his manner towards me changed quickly after that phone call. The rest of the process went relatively smoothly.
I am very certain that my successful journey back to Gaza is due to the intervention of the Palestinian Ambassador Dr. Barakat El Farra and his assistant Maissa Hidmi. Shukran! Shukran! Shukran!