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Between Egypt And Gaza, A Renewed Connection


The move follows the agreement reached earlier this month between Palestinian militant rivals Hamas and Fatah. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson was on the Egyptian side of the border and has this report.


SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON: Only a few hundred Palestinians crossed the border in Rafah on the first day it reopened. Many, like Musbah Mohamed Halawin, were infirm. The 55-year-old in a wheelchair was headed to Egypt for spinal surgery.

MUSBAH MOHAMED HALAWIN: (foreign language spoken)

SARHADDI NELSON: Fellow traveler Hasna el Rais says the Egyptian move returned a feeling of dignity to Palestinians.

HASNA EL RAIS: We have the higher spirit now because this is an example of freedom and end of every suffering in the last five years. We suffered too much.

SARHADDI NELSON: On the Gaza side, Ghazi Hamad, who heads the Border Crossing Authority, waved aside such claims.

GHAZI HAMAD: I think everything is working normally here. There's no smuggling, no criminals, no violation of law. So, I think they should not be worried about this.


SARHADDI NELSON: Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Special correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and read at NPR.org. From 2012 until 2018 Nelson was NPR's bureau chief in Berlin. She won the ICFJ 2017 Excellence in International Reporting Award for her work in Central and Eastern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan.