Between Egypt And Gaza, A Renewed Connection

Originally published on June 6, 2011 10:42 am
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LIANE HANSEN, Host:

The move follows the agreement reached earlier this month between Palestinian militant rivals Hamas and Fatah. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson was on the Egyptian side of the border and has this report.

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SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: Only a few hundred Palestinians crossed the border in Rafah on the first day it reopened. Many, like Musbah Mohamed Halawin, were infirm. The 55-year-old in a wheelchair was headed to Egypt for spinal surgery.

MUSBAH MOHAMED HALAWIN: (foreign language spoken)

SARHADDI NELSON: Fellow traveler Hasna el Rais says the Egyptian move returned a feeling of dignity to Palestinians.

HASNA EL RAIS: We have the higher spirit now because this is an example of freedom and end of every suffering in the last five years. We suffered too much.

SARHADDI NELSON: On the Gaza side, Ghazi Hamad, who heads the Border Crossing Authority, waved aside such claims.

GHAZI HAMAD: I think everything is working normally here. There's no smuggling, no criminals, no violation of law. So, I think they should not be worried about this.

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SARHADDI NELSON: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.