Israel bars Palestinian Christians from holy places at Easter

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Source: Gisha

Israeli authorities have refused to issue travel permits to hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Gaza who had hoped to attend the Easter Triduum services in Jerusalem and Bethlehem and visit and families there.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Israel has only allowed 200 Christians from Gaza, all over 55 years old, to travel to Jordan. They refused to grant permits for those wishing to visit the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem..

The Israeli human rights organisation Gisha, said: "This is the first time that we know of that Israel is outright denying access of Gaza Christians to the West Bank and Israel (on Christmas or Easter). It is also a far smaller quota than previous holidays, when COGAT set quotas of at least 500 permits, or more. Such a sweeping restriction cannot be justified by security needs.

"Israel's decision to outright deny movement between Gaza and the West Bank this Easter constitutes a further violation of Palestinians' fundamental rights to freedom of movement, religious freedom, and family life. The increased restriction on the movement of Palestinian Christians points to further implementation of Israel's 'separation policy' a policy restricting movement between Gaza and the West Bank which deepens the split between the two parts of the occupied Palestinian territory."


Gisha -

Tags: Holy Land, Gaza, Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Gisha, Israel, Palestine

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