Dec. 26, 2018
- Escaping Gaza Is Easier Now – for Palestinians Who Can Afford It – Pam Bailey and Fadi O. Al-Naji
Prior to May 2018, the Rafah gateway to Egypt was opened for only a few days a year by Egypt due to security concerns. Egypt now is keeping the crossing open in both directions, and one’s ability to escape from Gaza separates the “haves” from the “have-nots.” Not too long after the Rafah crossing opened, around 100 of Gaza’s most talented physicians left.
Dr. Mahmoud Sadaldeen, an anesthesiologist at Shifa, Gaza’s main hospital, is planning to leave as soon as he can, perhaps for the UAE. “I spent the entire 2014 war at the hospital offering medical treatment for injured people with love, away from my family. But it’s become unbearable. We are supposed to be paid a monthly salary of 6,000 ($1,600) shekels but I receive only 2,000 ($540). After paying on my bank loans, I only have 1,000-1,200 left a month.”
“Most Gazans who make it out are the strip’s most resourceful, highly educated, promising, accomplished and sometimes wealthiest people,” notes Muhammad Shehada, a writer who left Gaza for Sweden two years ago.
Those who don’t want to wait for months on the waiting list to exit pay a “coordination fee” (aka bribe) to Egyptian officials. The going rate averages $1,500, although it can range as high as $7,000, depending on the person’s status. For most Gazans, even if they can scrape this sum together, they are left with nothing extra for expenses on the other side. (+972 Magazine)