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Israel to ease mobility restrictions for Christian Palestinians over holiday season

Dec. 10, 2016 3:30 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 10, 2016 3:30 P.M.)
Thousands flocked to Bethlehem to celebrate Christmas, including the hundreds of tourists pictured here in Manger Square, Dec. 24, 2013. (AFP/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israel’s Defense Ministry announced that it plans to ease restrictions on travel for Christian Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip over the Christmas holiday season, Israeli news site Haaretz reported on Friday. 

Haaretz cited the ministry as saying that 400 Christian Palestinians would be permitted to enter Israel in order to travel abroad via Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, something that Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza are not allowed to do unless granted special permission from Israel. 

Additionally, Haaretz reported that around 100 Christian Palestinians from Israel and the occupied West Bank with relatives in the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit their relatives in the besieged coastal enclave, which has been under siege for nearly a decade since Hamas was elected to govern the territory. 

The reported add that 700 Palestinian Christians from Gaza will also be permitted to visit occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Israeli authorities often ease its restrictions on Palestinian mobility during Muslim and Christian holidays, while also tightening and cracking down on Palestinian movement to and from Israel and within the West Bank during Jewish holidays. 
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