Completed fence along border.
(photo credit: Yaakov Katz)
Palestinians who arrive in Egypt by plane without a visa will be allowed to stay
in the country for 72 hours, Cairo’s envoy in Ramallah, Yasser Othman, announced
The announcement came as Egyptian authorities denied they had
lifted restrictions imposed on Palestinian travelers.
Until now, Egypt
had immediately deported all Palestinians who arrived without a visa.
recent weeks, hundreds of Palestinians who arrived in Egypt have been put on
planes and sent to the Gaza Strip or the countries they came from. Dozens of
Palestinians who fled Syria were stuck at Cairo International Airport after the
Egyptian authorities denied them entry.
Some of the Palestinians were
sent back to Syria, while others were escorted to the Rafah terminal on their
way into the Gaza Strip, according to Palestinian sources.
who arrived from other Arab countries without a visa were detained at the
airport before being deported to the Gaza Strip.
Following protests by
the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, Cairo changed its policy, allowing
Palestinian travelers to stay in Egypt for at least 72 hours before they chose
their next destination.
Security sources in Cairo denied reports that the
Egyptian authorities were no longer requiring Palestinians to obtain a visa
before visiting the country.
The sources said the official regulations
regarding the entry of Palestinians remained unchanged. They said all men aged
18 to 40 still need a visa to enter Egypt, while females are
According to the sources, the policy at the Rafah terminal has
also not changed and Palestinians from the Gaza Strip cannot enter the country
without a visa or permission from the Egyptian security
Palestinians had hoped the election of the Muslim
Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as president would lead to a change in travel
The Hamas government said that despite promises from the
Egyptian authorities, the restrictions have not been eased and Palestinians are
still subjected to “humiliating” treatment when they arrive in Egypt. In
addition, the Egyptians are continuing to ban many Palestinians from the Gaza
Strip from traveling through the Rafah border crossing.