Rafah crossing into Gaza is bustling today after the Eygptian authorities opened it yesterday after three years.
Opening Rafah effectively ended the economic blockade imposed by Israel after Hamas came to power in Gaza, and it means ordinary household items previously expensive and in short supply will begin to flow in again. It is a welcome economic boost for the impoverished population.
“We thank President Mubarak because he opened the crossing and he allowed us to be treated in hospitals, and he will allow the crossing be open for along time, which will allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, so thanks to him and to the Egyptians who helped us,” said one woman.
Rafah is the only entry point to Gaza not supervised by the Israelis, but for now Egypt will only allow in perishables and other staples. Hard materials like steel and concrete vital for rebuilding Gaza will still have to come in via Israeli-controlled crossings.
Or they will be smuggled in via the tunnel industry that boomed in the last three years, but which may now struggle to compete with the volumes a newly-reopened Rafah will be able to bring to the market.