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Palestinians prevented from going on pilgrimage by Israel

February 17, 2014 at 11:19 pm

The Israeli authorities have stopped a number of Palestinians from travelling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj pilgrimage. Sources said that they were turned back because they refused to pay the “TV fees” for the official Israeli TV Channel One.

Although Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, passed a law that all Jerusalem residents must pay “TV fees”, most Palestinians do not watch it. Israeli sources said that those who want to travel must have paid the fees before they can leave the country.

Moreover, dozens of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank who were also planning to go for the Hajj were turned back by Israeli security staff at the Al-Karameh Crossing between the West Bank and Jordan. The Israelis cited “security concerns” as the reason for stopping the pilgrims.

Local sources say that the Palestinians are appealing to human rights organisations to challenge the Israeli authorities on the basis that they have been prevented from performing an obligatory act of worship.