11 April 2023 |Reference 24/2023
The Israeli authorities have announced the revocation of the travel permits already issued to Palestinian Christians in the Gaza Strip to celebrate their religious rites in West Bank’s holy sites during the Easter holidays.
According to Al Mezan, about 1,000 Palestinian Christians from Gaza applied to the Israeli authorities for a travel permit to go to Jerusalem during the Easter holidays. Of these, 739 requests were approved. However, the Israeli authorities later announced that they had revoked all permits, thus preventing Palestinian Christians in Gaza from visiting holy sites.
As regularly reported by Al Mezan, the bureaucratic process through which Palestinians in Gaza must navigate to try to obtain travel permits from the Israeli authorities is riddled with anguish, anxiety, and bureaucratic violence. This is because the system itself and the restrictions imposed by Israel on the freedom of movement of Palestinians from Gaza are inherently violent and discriminatory, and violate Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under international humanitarian law, which protects the rights of people under occupation to freedom of movement within the occupied territory and the right to perform religious rites.
Al Mezan strongly condemns Israel’s policy of denying Palestinian Christians from Gaza access to holy sites in Bethlehem and Jerusalem, as well as the harassment and assault of Palestinian Muslims in Al-Aqsa. Al Mezan emphasizes that violating Palestinians’ rights to freedom of worship and religious observance is part of Israel’s settler-colonial closure and apartheid regime against the Palestinian people.
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