Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

15 Apr, 2014

Israel opens Jerusalem for foreign tourists, but not for local Palestinians

RAMALLAH, April 14, 2014 – (WAFA) – Fatah Central Committee Member Nabeel Shaath joined Sunday the Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem which marked the beginning of the Christian Holy Week of Easter. Shaath, along with Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Husseini, joined Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and the bishop of Palestine William Shomali in the annual procession to the Old City of Jerusalem.

“I have joined my Christian brothers and sisters at the beginning of a week that symbolizes hope after suffering. As a priest and dear friend once told me: ‘Every Easter we hope for the resurrection of our people as a free nation’,” said Shaath.

Shaath highlighted the lack of freedom of movement and worship under Israeli occupation stating: “It is inconceivable that Palestinian Christians and Muslims from the rest of Palestine cannot reach Jerusalem without Israeli-issued permits; families wanting to celebrate in their holy city, their national capital; scout groups who have been practicing their routines for months and grandparents who want to share the miracle of Easter with their grandchildren.”

He added: “We should be free to access Jerusalem because it is a part of Palestine. It is ridiculous that Israel opens Jerusalem for foreign tourists while millions of Palestinian Christians and Muslims are being banned from entering their occupied capital.”

During Palm Sunday procession in Jerusalem, only a limited number of Palestinian Christians were able to join, mainly due to lack of permits. This included several scout bands from large Palestinian Christian communities such as Ramallah and Beit Jala.

Shaath also condemned the Israeli aggression near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which took place earlier yesterday. Six Palestinians were injured after Israeli occupation forces raided the Haram al-Sharif compound.

He concluded: “What I have seen today reflects the nature of the Israeli plans to take over the city by every method possible. It should be a matter of international concern that one group of people is trying to claim exclusive rights over a city which has a long and rich history of being a city of three holy faiths. Jerusalem should be the example to the rest of the world, an open city to all.”

Israel Seals West Bank and Gaza for Jewish Holidays

RAMALLAH, April 14, 2014 (WAFA) – The Israeli authorities on Sunday closed off the border crossings leading to the West Bank, in addition to Karm Abu Salem crossing, Gaza’s sole commercial crossing.

Local sources said the closure of the West Bank will last till Tuesday under the pretext of the Jewish holidays, including the reduction of work hours at the Allenby border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

The Israeli authorities also announced that it will only allow Arab citizens of Israel to enter the West Bank from 7 am to 12 am.

The authorities also announced the closure of the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron on Tuesday and Wednesday to allow Jewish settlers to perform religious rituals inside the mosque compound.

Meanwhile in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli border authorities shut down Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) commercial crossing – the only crossing for the transfer of aids and merchandise into Gaza – under the same pretext.