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Gazans reportedly pay thousands of dollars for coveted permit to enter Egypt

Palestinians leave to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, on November 2, 2023. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Some Gazans are reportedly prepared to pay thousands of dollars to acquire the highly-coveted permit to enter Egypt from the war-ridden coastal enclave, according to a new investigation conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting (OCCRP).

The project was done in cooperation with Saheeh Masr, an independent Egyptian online media outlet and reported by the leading French newspaper Le Monde.

Independent brokers and travel agencies have turned Israel's ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza into a profitable business, focusing on residents of Gaza who are desperate to enter Egypt.

The entry permits across the Rafah crossing, on the border between Gaza and Egypt, are reportedly being sold for staggering amounts, between $4,500 to $10,000. The exorbitant prices are forcing cash-strapped Gazans to sell their jewelry and other personal belongings.

Another hurdle for most Gazans is a long waiting list to receive a permit, as priority is currently only being given to dual citizens and injured Gazans. However, the report revealed that most of the border permit deals are scams, leaving individuals destitute and stranded on the Gazan side of the border.

The number of Gazans who want to leave Gaza has been on the rise since the terror organization Hamas violently took power in 2007. However, the intense ongoing fight between Hamas terrorists and Israeli forces in dense urban areas has led to a dramatic increase in the number of Gazans who wish to leave the coastal enclave.

Fearing a massive inflow of Gazans, the Egyptian government decided to close the Rafah border in October, which has created the vacuum currently being exploited by independent businesses that currently enable the daily entry of around 200 Gazans into the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

However, demand far outstrips supply among the Gaza Strip’s roughly two million residents, which has led to a further increase in the already-high entry permit cost.

On New Year’s Eve, relatives of the U.S. soldier Ragi A. Sckak living in Gaza were evacuated from the Strip in a secret operation that required the coordination of the United States, Egypt and Israel.

“The United States played solely a liaison and coordinating role between the Sckak family and the governments of Israel and Egypt,” an unnamed U.S. official told the AP news agency.

Some Western and Arab officials fear that Israel will try to encourage many Gazans to leave the coastal enclave for Egypt because of the widespread support for the Hamas terror organization among regular Gazan civilians. A whopping 76% of the Israeli public reportedly supports voluntary emigration of Gazans “the day after” the war, according to a fresh poll.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denies that Israel seeks to control Gaza or displace its population.

“Israel has no intention of permanently occupying Gaza or displacing its civilian population. Israel is fighting Hamas terrorists… in full compliance with international law,” Netanyahu stated.

Bilateral ties between Egypt and Israel are currently tense due to disagreements concerning the future of the Rafah border crossing and the Philadelphi corridor, a narrow strategically important border area between Egypt and Gaza.

Cairo recently warned Jerusalem against trying to take control of the area, including sending IDF troops close to the Egyptian border. However, Israel recently informed Egypt that it would have no choice but to send IDF troops to Rafah in order to control the massive smuggling of illegal weapons to Hamas terrorists and its allies.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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