Photo Credit: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90
Gazan Arabs who can afford $10,000 per person leave to Egypt via the Rafah border crossing, February 6, 2024.

Only a small number of Gazan Arabs have managed to depart via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, and individuals attempting to register on the daily exit list claim they’re encountering demands for substantial “coordination fees” from a network of brokers and couriers who work for the Egyptian intelligence services, The Guardian reported last month.

According to The Guardian, individuals in dire need to depart Gaza pay bribes of up to $10,000 to the brokers to facilitate their exit to Egypt and from there to European and American destinations.


Egypt vehemently refuted the claims made in The Guardian’s January 8 article. Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt’s State Information Service, stated that customs duties are indeed collected at Rafah in accordance with Egyptian law, but dismissed any suggestion of officials accepting bribes for border crossings, asserting that such reports have no foundation.

Egypt, which has been a significant player in regional talks on the fate of Gazan civilians, has consistently opposed the opening of the Rafah crossing. Egyptian officials say they are afraid to allow a large number of people into the neighboring Sinai Peninsula, where they would pose potential security risks. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned that a significant influx of refugees from Gaza could establish a precedent for relocating Arabs from Judea and Samaria to Jordan.

But the biggest concern in Cairo is that letting the 2.2. million Gazans in for free would kill a goose that lays golden eggs – many basketfuls of golden eggs.

Chanel 14 News correspondent Baruch Yedid on Thursday shared the real numbers – how much is Egypt making these days on its Rafah crossing:

$4,000 per truck entering Gaza
$5,000 to $10,000 per person (age 12 and up) crossing over into Egypt

Yedid compared these rates to what Gazans were charged for crossing into Egypt on Ramadan 2012, on their way to Mecca – from $30 to $300 per person.

Yedid also revealed the overall income from smuggling contraband – drugs, weapons, and ammunition – into Gaza, through some 3,000 different tunnels: $700 million annually.

The anti-Israel magazine +972 cited multiple travel agencies in Khan Younis and Rafah who said a significant factor contributing to the surge in prices at the crossing is the demands imposed by Egyptian authorities. They explained that during times of conflict, the cost of coordinating travel through the Rafah Crossing with Egypt can range from $2,000 to $6,000 per person, with this sum being divided between Egyptian security forces and Gaza-based travel agencies. Under normal circumstances, the price typically ranges from $200 to $1,000, depending on the travel season, according to one agency. But during the current conflict, it’s as high as $10,000 per person.

The agencies further highlighted the substantial demand from Gazan Arabs seeking to travel, many of whom urgently require medical treatment. However, even if residents could theoretically afford the steep costs, many have been forced to leave their homes and much of their finances behind while fleeing the Israeli airstrikes.

Here’s an amusing tidbit: Rashwan, the head of Egypt’s State Information Service, urged Gazans to inform Egyptian authorities about any attempts by individuals seeking to exploit their desire to get through the crossing. Of course, it’s highly unlikely that anyone would come forward to file a report. For many Gazans, while the payment demanded may be beyond reach, it represents their sole lifeline—a distant dream or a last resort, particularly as the end of the war seems increasingly remote.

It’s not too late for Israel to start offering the same service as the Egyptians, only for free and via ships that offer reasonable rates to take the Gazans to Europe or America. Israel could even sweeten the deal with a few buck for personal expenses, such as hiring a good immigration lawyer on the other side. Israel is spending so much money on killing Arabs – here’s an opportunity to get them out for next to nothing.


Previous articleKalaniot
Next articleThree Types of Tzedaka – Parshat Teruma
David writes news at