Two days before Easter holiday, an Israeli official reported that Israel has decided to approve hundreds of permits for Palestinian Christians living in the Gaza Strip to visit East Jerusalem and the West Bank for Easter.
“Following the recommendations of the security establishment, during this coming Easter, hundreds of Christians from the Gaza Strip will be allowed to visit Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem and to go abroad,” the Israeli official, who requested anonymity, said in a text message to reporters, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name.
Most Christians will celebrate Easter, a holiday marking Jesus’s resurrection, on Sunday, but Orthodox Christian communities, who follow a different calendar, will mark it on April 28. Many Christians in Gaza belong to the Greek Orthodox community, which will celebrate the holiday on the latter date.
A Palestinian Authority official in charge of requesting permits from the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), said that he had not been informed of the Israeli decision. He said in a phone call, “ I have not been informed of anything except 200 permits to those who are supposed to travel .”
According to reports issued by the Palestinian Authority Central Bureau of Statistics, 1,138 Palestinian Christians live in Gaza. Almost all of them live in Gaza City and many of them have family members in the West Bank.
Source: The Times of Israel