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Official: Israel lets 557 Christians out of Gaza for holidays
Published Thursday 20/12/2012 (updated) 24/12/2012 09:31
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GAZA CITY (Ma’an) -- Israel will allow 557 Christians from the Gaza Strip to leave to the West Bank to participate in holiday celebrations, Palestinian officials and the Israeli army said.

A Palestinian official told Ma'an that the Israeli side delivered 557 permits to Christians seeking to temporarily leave Gaza to join religious celebrations in the occupied West Bank.

They will be allowed to leave Gaza from Dec. 24 until Jan. 8. The time period covers the two main Christmas observances for Catholic and Orthodox, on Dec. 25 and Jan. 7.

Many Christians were not eligible to apply for the permits which are subject to age restrictions. They are only given to Palestinians under 16 years old and older than 35.

An Israeli army statement confirmed "500 visitor permits for Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Israel and the Judea and Samaria Region in order to visit their families and participate in religious ceremonies."

In 2011 Israeli authorities gave 550 Christians from Gaza permits for the holidays.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
21/12/2012 03:06
It's calculated: whatever the actual degree of religious freedom Christians enjoy in Gaza, Israel isn't doing this because it feels for them. She's doing it to create the impression -- correct or incorrect -- that Hamas is oppressing Christians. The Christians are being USED.

2 ) Shirley S / Australia
21/12/2012 04:58
palestinian christioans can leave gaza anytime as seige for travel is over broken by EGYPT getting into west bank is another story please MAAN stop YOUR TRASHY PROPAGANDA ARTICLESTOTAL DISTORTIONS OF REALITY AND ADHERE TO TRUTHANAYONE WOULD THINK YOU WORKED FOR iSRAEL YOUR ARTICLE SHOULD READ PALESTININS GIVEN PERMITS TO ENTER WEST BANK

3 ) Mahmoud / Ramallah
21/12/2012 13:01
Muslims are given permission to leave on a regular basis to do Haj and other religious activities. They get more permissions then anyone else to travel. This is a rare and important event that they allowed this many CHristians the same privelges.

4 ) Charlie / USA
21/12/2012 15:01
Palestinian Christians and the strongest link back to the TRUE MESSIAH JESUS CHRIST may ALLAH'S PEACE AND BLESSING BE UPON HIM. IT is sad that the indirect descendants of those who ATTEMPTED TO KILL him continue to OPPRESS his FOLLOWER. PALESTINIANS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO ASK ANYONE FOR PERMISSION TO GO WHERE ever they want in their land.

5 ) Mel / USA
21/12/2012 15:45
"Israel lets..."? Maan,you sound so servile!?!
WHOOP DEE-DOO! A timely 'holiday pass'from a'generous'Zionist SS!What,for being 'good POW's? Jews were allowed to"celebrate"too(when ICRC came round)B4 they were gassed!This is criminal,routine,political-Zionist strategy to curry proxy favor.Treating Christian Arabs,as 'good Arabs'(like Phalangists)to DIVIDE the sects."Beware of...(Zionists)bearing gifts". It should read: "Official":ISRAEL GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES&HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES. WALL COMES DOWN!!

6 ) Maureen / Australia
22/12/2012 05:36
So, Israel allows 557 human beings out of Israel's weapons testing area for a few days... Gaza, the open air prison.

7 ) mabhouh / was in dubai
22/12/2012 16:12
this must be a crime, call icc

8 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
22/12/2012 17:20
So tell us, Mel. What did your country do for the native Americans? Oh that's right - you stole their lands, committed genocide against them, and established the USA - wiping out all the native nations. So is this the message you are giving from your occupation settlement in America? We should follow your example (or Shirley's in Aus), abandon the idea of peace and declare the U S of Israel?

9 ) Shirley S / Australia
23/12/2012 09:35
With Hamas poised now to takeover the West Bank, Christians may feel safer at home in Gaza.

10 ) Carlos / usa
23/12/2012 16:54
israel protects the holy sites from visits by Christians and Moslems. israel wants to destroy the pilgramage of Christians and Moslems. Arab Jordan allowed more freedom for Jews and was a better administrator of the religious sites than israel. Jordan allowed Jews of all ages to visit religious sites. Jordan even allowed israelis if they entered Jordan legally. israel is religious intolerance.
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