The war between Hamas and Gaza has created a black market for refugees on the border with Egypt. The price of crossing the border can be several thousand dollars.
After October 7, 2023, when the war between Hamas and Israel began, the border from Gaza to Tel Aviv was also closed. This left the only way out of the war via the Rafah border crossing in Egypt, which was also closed by the authorities. The border is still officially closed, but according to the Washington-based Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), it is reportedly possible to pay for the crossing through local tour operators who have contacts in the Egyptian state apparatus and can bribe their way into Egypt.
For several years, these tour operators have reportedly been offering expedited passage through Rafah at prices ranging from several hundred to thousands of dollars, depending in part on how often the border has been open for crossing. In other words, the more desperate the border crossing, the better the business.
According to more than a dozen interviews conducted by the OCCRP and the Cairo-based media platform SaheehMasr, the price to secure a border crossing permit reportedly ranges from $4,500 to $10,000. The price for people with Egyptian citizenship is lower, ranging from $650 to $1,200 per person.
Rasha, an Egyptian national who fled Gaza, says she was told it would cost a total of $40,000 to get her Palestinian husband and three children out through Rafah.
– We can’t afford it, she says.