The opening of the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Palestine hopefully ends one of the worst human rights abuses in modern history. One and a half million people have been imprisoned in the Gaza strip for 4 years, denied access to medical aid and basic goods. The easing of the restrictions were welcomed throughout the Arab world today.
Israel sealed the borders when Hamas were elected by the people of Gaza, and did not have any problem persuading the then Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to support their policy. Collective punishment has been a tool used by the Israeli state for far too long, and the international community has not reacted to it with any conviction.
The struggle for freedom of movement is far from over, and the Palestinian people are still denied the right to trade. But as women and children could finally cross to Cairo for much needed medical care, and families were reunited, it is clearly a great day for the people of Gaza.
It is also proof that real change is being felt in Egypt. Finally, the government is beginning to respond to the will of the people. Today there is hope for at least one part of the Middle East.
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