Egypt eases restrictions for male Palestinians

Palestinians who arrive in Egypt by plane without a visa will be allowed to stay in the country for 72 hours.

July 24, 2012 05:13
1 minute read.
Section of fence completed along border

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 on Monday.

The announcement came as Egyptian authorities denied they had lifted restrictions imposed on Palestinian travelers.

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Until now, Egypt had immediately deported all Palestinians who arrived without a visa.

In 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.

Palestinians 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 exempt.

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 authorities.

Palestinians had hoped the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi as president would lead to a change in travel restrictions.

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.

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