Hundreds of Palestinians are lining up at the Rafah Crossing to make
their way to the Holy City of Mecca for the Hajj (Islamic Religious
Pilgrimage).  Today was the first day in over a week that the Israeli
border guards have opened the crossing and allowed individuals to pass,
the Associated Press reported today.


The Rafah crossing has only been intermittently opened since the international siege was imposed on the Palestinian people.  The result of the inconsistent openings have placed a huge burden on the Palestinians; restricting travel, export and import of items, and creating an extreme hardship on individuals who are suffering from medical conditions and as a result, at least 8 have died since August, while waiting to cross.

The Hajj is one of the basic tenets of the Religion of Islam and approximately more than 2 million people attend annually.  Attending the Hajj is considered to be of great religious value to Muslims and many have risked their health and safety to attend.