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Palestinian Factions Silent On Gaza-West Bank Divide

Israel's separation of Gaza from the West Bank has been so successful that the main Palestinian factions no longer ask for freedom of movement between the two enclaves, Daoud Kuttab writes.
Palestinians walk through a newly built 500 meter-long passage way on their way back to the Gaza Strip through Israel's Erez Crossing December 3, 2009.  REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (GAZA POLITICS) - RTXRERB

The Erez checkpoint is a large, airport-like terminal with 12 passport booths, security cameras everywhere and men with guns topped with special targeting attachments. This is the crossing point into and out of the Gaza Strip from the Israeli side. When this writer crossed the checkpoint, the travelers there were a handful of foreigners, a couple of families and one older man who was held up because he had left Gaza using the Rafah crossing point and returned via the Jordan River crossing. It is difficult to get in or out of Gaza. One usually needs a permit, which is rarely given, or must be a foreigner working for an international agency or a recognized media outlet. Entering Gaza is most difficult for residents of Jerusalem and Israeli citizens, even if they are ethnically Arab.

After dealing with all the passport control issues, travelers exit through a metal door that opens on orders from an unseen location. Afterwards, they must make their way through a closed, 1.5-kilometer corridor. A golf cart — with a sign indicating it was donated by a Turkish solidarity group — is available for the trip. When asked, the driver said that he is paid by “Ramallah,” referring to the West Bank–based Palestinian Authority.

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