The Gaza-Egypt Rafah crossing explained: ‘It is not a normal border’

© Said Khatib, AFP

For Gaza's two million residents, the Rafah border with Egypt serves as a vital lifeline. Over the years, this crossing has seen numerous shifts, openings, and closures, prompting the construction of illicit tunnels beneath it to facilitate the flow of people and goods. As the war between Israel and Hamas persists, the Rafah border now plays a crucial role in evacuations and the delivery of humanitarian aid.

What is the Rafah border crossing?

Often referred to as a lifeline for people in Gaza, the Rafah border allows Palestinians living in the war-torn enclave to have a vital connection to the outside world and essential resources. It’s located along the 12km border that divides the Gaza Strip from Egypt.

The Rafah border is one of two main crossings for inhabitants of Gaza. While Rafah is located in the south of the Strip, another crossing called Erez is located in the north at the Israeli border. Rafah is thus the only crossing that isn’t directly controlled by Israel.

Rafah is controlled by Egypt, but Israel monitors all activity in southern Gaza from its Kerem Shalom military base, found at the junction between Gaza, Israel and Egypt, and other surveillance points.

For families separated by the border, it is the only way to reunite. “There are a lot of transnational families who want to see members on either side,” says Navone.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

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