Hamas blasts Israel for cancelling Gazans’ permits

March 20, 2016  

Israel has cancelled permits for Palestinian Arab residents of Gaza to travel to Jerusalem to attend Friday prayers at the Temple Mount, and Hamas is unhappy about it.

On Saturday, the terrorist group condemned Israel’s decision, branding it “an escalation of the Israeli blockade on Gaza and call on the international community to intervene and stop these Israeli crimes,” according to the Ma’an news agency.

The Israeli Defense Ministry on Wednesday cancelled the permits due to what it termed rampant “exploitation and misuse” of the permits system.

The agreement had allowed 200 Gazans above the age of 60 to worship at the Al-Aqsa Mosque as part of a ceasefire agreement that ended the 2014 Gaza war.

But Israel ditched the arrangement, reporting that Palestinians were not returning to Gaza on the same day in violation of the agreement rules.

A spokesperson for Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), a branch of the Defense Ministry, said that the permits were annulled because of “inappropriate misusing (of) the permit and inappropriately exploiting the Israeli civil policy.”

The announcement came a week after the Defense Ministry announced an ease on sanctions for Gazan Arabs. Movement in and out of Gaza is controlled by Israel via the Erez crossing, and by Egypt at the Rafah border which mainly remains closed.

Israel has consistently granted permits for medical and humanitarian cases, as well as permitting students to leave and study abroad, and for Christians wanting to travel to Bethlehem for holidays.

Permission for Gazans to travel to Jerusalem for Friday prayers and during holidays such as Ramadan has also increased over the years, but COGAT has in the past revoked these in the wake of rocket attacks.

In addition, riots at the Al-Aqsa Mosque were one of the main factors that led to the current deadly wave of terrorism against Israelis, which began before the Rosh Hashanah holiday.

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