Israel to Let 400 Gazans Visit Jerusalem for Eid al-Adha, in First in Five Years

Israel said it would ease some restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the major Muslim holiday

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, in April.
Palestinian Muslim worshippers pray in front of the Dome of the Rock Mosque in Jerusalem, in April.Credit: Mahmoud Illean /AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Israel announced on Sunday it will let a group of Muslims from the Gaza Strip visit Jerusalem for Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays on the Muslim calendar, for the first time since 2017.

The Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories presented a series of temporary measures to ease some of the restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing several hundred people to visit Jerusalem and fly abroad for the holiday, which begins on Saturday and lasts until next Wednesday.

Palestinians from the West Bank will be allowed to visit relatives in Israel and border crossings will remain open for extended hours, according to the Israeli statement.

In addition, 500 permits will be issued to let West Bank residents go abroad via Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, and 200 others will be allowed to visit the southern resort town of Eilat.

Four-hundred Gazans will be allowed to travel to Jerusalem, the third-holiest city for Muslims, but these visits will be restricted to men over 55 and women over 50.

In addition, some 500 Gazans will be able to meet immediate family members living in Israel and the West Bank.

Eid al-Adha, or the “Feast of Sacrifice,” is typically marked by communal prayers, large social gatherings and, for many, slaughtering of livestock and giving meat to the needy.

Over the weekend, pilgrims started arriving in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia for the 2022 hajj pilgrimage season, after two years of major disruption caused by the COVID pandemic.

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