Israel grant only 500 permits to Palestinian Christians who want to travel from Gaza to Bethlehem to attend the traditional Christmas celebrations

December 24, 2014 6:45 pm



Israeli forces have announced that they will maintain severe
restrictions on Christians arriving from the Gaza Strip for this year’s
festivities while there is no restriction for Christians from around the
world to visit the city.
Israel
says it will grant who want
to travel from Gaza to attend the traditional Christmas
celebrations.

This year, only a few hundred Christians living in the coastal
enclave, either younger than 16 or older than 35, have been allowed to
visit Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity to attend the traditional
midnight mass.

Earlier this week, Israel announced that it will consider several
restrictive measures on the movement of Palestinian Christians during
the Christmas. Palestinians and international rights groups have, time
and again, slammed Tel Aviv for restricting Palestinians’ movement in
the occupied territories through a racist system.

On Tuesday, Israeli forces violently dispersed a peaceful march
calling for Christmas without occupation in Bethlehem. Several
Palestinians were injured after coming under attack at an Israeli
checkpoint in northern Bethlehem.

More than 123,000 Palestinian Christians live in Occupied Palestine,
and another 226,000 reside in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Israel maintains harsh restrictions on the free movement of the
Palestinians between Gaza, West Bank and the Occupied Palestine. The
discriminatory system imposed on more than 1.8 million Palestinians in
Gaza has turned the enclave into the biggest open-air prison in the
world.

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