The Israeli authorities allowed nearly 600 Christians from the Gaza Strip to pass through the northern Beit Hanoun crossing on Thursday in order to participate in the Easter celebrations in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank.
The director of public relations in Gaza's Orthodox Church, Jabr Al-Jildeh, told SAFA news agency that, "Israel has issued 600 permits for Christians from the enclave to travel to the West Bank to participate in the Easter celebrations." Al-Jildeh pointed out that the permits extend for approximately two weeks, starting from Thursday until Monday, 28 April.
He noted that Israel only granted the permits to those Christian Palestinians who are between 35 and 40 years of age, and as usual prevented any Christians between the ages of 16 and 35 from leaving the enclave for alleged security reasons.
Around 3,000 Christians live in the Gaza Strip, which has a total population of about 1.8 million people; most of Gaza's Christians are Greek Orthodox, with a small minority being Roman Catholics.