According to the 2005 agreements, the Rafah Crossing Point (RCP) is designated for passenger crossing and export of goods, while Kerem Shalom Crossing was to become the point of entry for commercial importation. The use of RCP is to the benefit of Palestinian ID holders and other agreed exceptional categories (diplomats, humanitarian cases, foreign investors, and foreign representatives of recognized international organizations).
EUBAM Rafah tasks are to actively monitor, verify and evaluate the Palestinian Authority (PA) performance at the Rafah Crossing Point (RCP). Therefore, EU monitors have no executive mandate: the responsibility for the management of the border crossing remains fully with the PA. However, EUBAM monitors have the authority, in case of non compliance, to order the re-examination and re-assessment of any passenger, luggage, vehicle or goods.
EUBAM monitors’ daily work at RCP
From 25th November 2005 to 9th June 2007, EUBAM Operations were conducted by rotating shifts: EU border police and customs officers have been deployed at the Terminal to ensure that security checks, passport controls and customs examinations are performed by PA officers according to international standards and in accordance with Palestinian law and existing agreements. Passports/identities of all passengers were controlled and their luggage was systematically screened with technical equipments. The security checks of luggage and persons aimed at preventing the movement of weapons and explosives.
In 2005-2007, passengers at RCP were allowed to bring 3 bags (overall amount not exceeding 90kg) of personal belongings into the Gaza Strip. Each amount of personal luggage was subject to the regulations of free allowances. Other decrees, laws and international agreements had to be considered, such as the declaration of money – exceeding 90,000 NIS – the restricted importation of Fauna and Flora protected by the Washington Convention, etc.
If passengers exceeded the permitted amounts or types of goods these items were either seized, confiscated or became subject to taxation.
One additional task of EUBAM monitors was to contribute to Palestinian capacity building in all aspects of border control and customs operations in order to contribute to building a Palestinian institutional capacity in terms of border management.
Mechanism of confidence-building
The Liaison Office, based in Kerem Shalom, provided a place where EUBAM Liaison Officers met together with Israelis and Palestinians representatives, receiving real-time video and data feed of the activities at the RCP and contributed to solve any disputes arising from the implementation of the agreements.
In case disputes were not solved at the Liaison Office level, they were directed for further discussions to the Coordination and Evaluation Committee (CEC), chaired by EUBAM Head of Mission, or to the Security Working Group (SWG) chaired by USSC.