• Rafah

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2024 at 7:03:43 AM
    Last Update : Friday, February 16, 2024 at 9:35 AM

Rafah-Egypt Border: Connecting Palestinians in Gaza to Loved Ones Abroad

(AWP) - Displaced Palestinian brothers Ahmed and Khalil al-Omrani spend hours each day walking along the border fence between Rafah and Egypt, trying to use their smartphones to capture a signal from any of Egypt’s phone networks to call their loved ones outside the Gaza Strip.

Gaza residents suffer from the weakness of local telecommunications networks and prolonged outages due to the ongoing war on the Strip since October 7.

The al-Omrani brothers recently settled in Rafah by the Egyptian border following a displacement journey that saw them moving between four houses in al-Shati neighbourhood, before fleeing towards the Abu Assi School, where they miraculously escaped an Israeli airstrike that killed more than 20 people at the shelter centre.

They then moved to al-Shifa Hospital and later to al-Nuseirat camp via the Salah al-Din Road. Israeli threats and warning leaflets soon forced them to move once more, this time to Rafah in the south of the Strip.

The brothers walk almost two kilometres a day to find the best spots along the Egyptian borders, where they can use eSIM cards available for free from some companies to try and capture Egyptian networks.

Ahmed al-Omrani said, “We try to get to the nearest border point along the Egyptian borders where there is transmission, and we try to pick up Egyptian network signals from Vodafone, Etisalat or Orange. These are the networks that can be picked up here on the eSIM [smart sim card].”

Khalil explains that eSIM cards can only be used close to the border or at a high point near it, and they do not work in remote areas such as Al-Zawayda or any other area in Gaza.