Great news! It seems like there might be an opening of the Rafah border after all and we will be re-adjusting our plans to try to leave Cairo on Monday morning, as previously planned!
Tonight, the Ma’am News Agency put out a release saying, “Despite earlier announcements that the crossing would be closed until January, Egyptian officials will open the Rafah crossing for four days next week, three for general traffic and a fourth for Egyptian citizens. Head of the Administration of crossings in the de facto government Ghazi Hamad announced Saturday that the crossings would be open starting Tuesday 29 December. On Friday Egyptian nationals only will be permitted to cross. Each day 10-12 buses loaded with 60-70 passengers each will leave Gaza”
The Foreign Ministry, however, has told us they knew nothing about this and that our situation, i.e. being denied entry, had not changed. For us, however, this represents a major change because it means there might be an opening since the government can no longer say that the border is too unsafe.
I was watching Al Jazeera at family’s house earlier today and we saw Col. Ann Wright on tv! We are all over the news here and the Egyptian people are well aware and supportive of our efforts 🙂
Saturday officially marks the one-year anniversary since the attacks on Gaza and it will be a very busy day of meetings, briefings, memorials, and commemorations. Just to give you an overview, some information is below:
- 8:30am: Briefing meeting for plans for the rest of the week
- 11 am: Gaza memorial at Kasr al Nil bridge
- 4:30pm: Felucca (Boat) memorial at Nile River corniche
- 6 pm: Gaza commemoration (Egyptian supporters of the march will have a rally to call for lifting the seige and have invited us to join them!)
- 8 pm: Orientation meeting
On Monday morning, we will still meet at the original meeting stop for the buses where we will board buses at 7:00 and head for Al-Arish. We have been warned by the organizers that the Egyptian authorities may very well prevent us from banning buses, but we believe it is well worth the try. We will be discussing this more tomorrow night, and I’ll update you when we get more info.
Wish us luck and thanks for all the comments and support. Keep them coming!