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Israel bans Gaza Christians from going to Jerusalem, Bethlehem for Easter

Orthodox Christians take part in the parade in front of Al Esbat Gate of the Jerusalem's Old City during 'Palm Sunday' celebrations in Jerusalem on 14 April 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency]
Orthodox Christians take part in the parade in front of Al Esbat Gate of the Jerusalem's Old City during 'Palm Sunday' celebrations in Jerusalem on 14 April 2019. [Faiz Abu Rmeleh - Anadolu Agency]

Israeli occupation authorities refused to issue travel permits for hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Gaza who planned to visit holy sites in Jerusalem and Bethlehem during Passover, Safa news agency reported yesterday.

Reporting Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Safa said that Israel allowed only 200 Christians from Gaza, who are over 55 years old, to travel to Jordan only and did not issue permits for those wishing to visit the Church of Nativity in occupied Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in occupied Jerusalem.

Israeli rights group Gisha reported complaints against the Israeli occupation regarding the restrictions imposed on people who want to travel during the Jewish Passover holiday which coincides with Easter.

“This is a flagrant violation of the freedom of movement, freedom of worship and freedom of enjoying family life for the Christians in Gaza,” Gisha said, noting that Gaza is an example of a “wider Israeli racist policy”.

According to Haaretz, Gisha said that this measure aims to deepen the division between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

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