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‘We are all trapped’: Israel bars Gaza’s Christians from visiting holy sites | Middle East Eye

For the second year in a row, Haneen Elias al-Jilda fears that Israeli authorities will deny her the right to perform religious rituals and participate in Christmas celebrations in the city of Bethlehem.

Last year she was prevented from obtaining a permit to travel from the besieged Gaza Strip to the occupied West Bank through the Erez crossing.

Such disappointment and frustration are prevalent among Gaza’s Christians.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Israeli Military Liaison Office with the Palestinians said that Palestinian Christians residing in Gaza could obtain permission to travel abroad, but that none of them would be allowed to enter Israel and the West Bank, where many sites sacred to Christians are located.In Bethlehem, I had a vivid experience of what Israel’s occupation feels likeRead More »The spokeswoman said that following “security orders”, Gazans would be allowed to travel abroad via the Israeli-controlled Allenby Bridge crossing between the West Bank and Jordan, but could not to visit cities such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Nazareth.

Christians in Gaza are generally known to be unaffiliated to Palestinian political factions and forces, but Israel often invokes security reasons when refusing to grant permits.Since 2017, al-Jilda has not received a permit to travel to the city of Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, to participate in Christmas celebrations at the Church of the Nativity, one of the holiest religious sites for Christians in the world.“Christian pilgrims come to the Church of the Nativity from around the world, while the Palestinian suffers misfortunes in his right to travel, worship and visit relatives,” the 19-year-old woman told Middle East Eye.

Sorgente: ‘We are all trapped’: Israel bars Gaza’s Christians from visiting holy sites | Middle East Eye

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