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7 Sep, 2014

Between Gaza and Israel, a Border Crossing in Need of Travelers – NYTimes.com

EREZ CROSSING, at the Israel-Gaza border — At 375,000 square feet, the terminal through which travelers pass between Israel and the Gaza Strip is a vast, high-tech hangar with a capacity of 45,000 people per day. Current traffic: 400 or fewer.

It was built, for about $60 million, starting in 2005, the year Israel withdrew all its settlers and soldiers from Gaza in what many imagined as a pilot land-for-peace deal that might be a precursor to an independent Palestinian state. But in June 2007, four months after the terminal was completed, Hamas, the militant Islamist movement, wrested control of Gaza. Israel sharply reduced the number of exit permits as part of a broader clampdown.

So the crossing, all but empty, sits as a symbol of the promise of more open passages if the intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved — and of the perils that have befallen the people on both sides. It is a symbol, too, of the stark separation not just between Gaza and Israel but also between Gaza and the West Bank.

Read the rest: Between Gaza and Israel, a Border Crossing in Need of Travelers – NYTimes.com.