We made it to Al Arish!

This is the seaside town in Egypt close to the Rafeh crossing into Gaza. A long 6 plus hour drive from Cairo. Many check stops along the way and some difficulties getting through – but we did it. Flat long road, and crossing the Mubarak Peace Bridge over the Suez Canal is impressive. Every time you stop and open the van door you get a blast of thick hot air; it sort of thuds in your face. Even though it’s late – now after 10:00 pm – we hope to meet Red Crescent reps to talk about the warehouse situation where goods ready to go into Gaza can’t make it in because Israel controls what goes in and how much. (See August 9 blog).

The irony of today is, we got up 5:30am – left Jerusalem by 7am – got thru the Allenby crossing back into Jordon from the West Bank, drove to Amman airport, flew to Cairo, and then drove to Al Arish – so about 15+ hours. By contrast the direct drive to Gaza from Jerusalem is about 2hrs, had we been able to go from that route. It gives you an idea of what locals in the West Bank go thru to go from A to B, via, X Y Z.

A further irony – the new tunnel roads and sunken roads, being built in the West Bank, that are only open at certain times for Palestinians to use (a so called “improvement”) to by-pass the Israeli only by-pass roads, are called the “the fabric of life” roads.

Wow – Al Arish is a pretty lively place – all the shops are open. It’s like rush hour, Kim says. I’m wide awake now.