Israel to restrict entry of Gaza Christians for Easter

Israel sometimes eases restrictions during religious holidays to allow Gazans to visit holy sites in Jerusalem.
Updated 31 March 2018

Israel to restrict entry of Gaza Christians for Easter

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities said on Thursday that they have decided to block most of Gaza’s small Christian community from entering Israel for Easter celebrations, citing security concerns.
Israel maintains a blockade over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and restricts entry from the territory. But it often eases the restrictions during religious holidays to allow Gaza’s residents to visit holy sites in Jerusalem or to visit relatives in Israel or the West Bank.
COGAT, the defense body that oversees Palestinian civilian affairs, said it will let only Christians aged 55 and older and children under age 16 enter Israel for Easter, which is celebrated by Catholics on Sunday and Orthodox Christians the following week. It said the restrictions were needed after previous cases in which Gazan visitors overstayed their permitted time in Israel.
A Christian leader in Gaza said the restrictions mean that only about one-third of the community’s 1,100 members will be allowed into Israel to celebrate. He said he was disappointed because his children would not be able to see their aunts in the West Bank city of Ramallah. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to jeopardize his own entry permit.
Wadie Abunassar, a Catholic Church official, called the restrictions “very sad” because Easter is a family holiday. He said it was “not reasonable” to allow a mother and father to enter Israel, while “leaving their children back in Gaza,” and urged Israel to reconsider.
“If people want to leave, they don’t want to leave for a honeymoon,” he said. “It is for a family trip.”


Lebanon records new coronavirus infection high with more than 100 cases

Updated 50 min 44 sec ago

Lebanon records new coronavirus infection high with more than 100 cases

  • Lebanon has recorded more than 2,000 infections and 36 deaths from the coronavirus

BEIRUT: A Lebanese waste management company is quarantining some 133 Syrian workers who tested positive for the coronavirus, the company manager said on Sunday, as Lebanon recorded a new daily high for infections.
Lebanon has recorded more than 2,000 infections and 36 deaths from the coronavirus since February.
“We are moving them to a place to quarantine them. We are separating those who are infected from those who aren’t ... we are waiting for more results,” RAMCO manager Walid BouSaad told Reuters.
Health minister Hamad Hassan said more than 100 cases had been recorded, with most of them at what he described as “a big cleaning company,” an apparent reference to RAMCO, which collects garbage across Lebanon.
“To reassure people, the source is known,” Hassan told broadcaster LBC. He added that up to 75% of the cases were symptom-free.
Hassan said 800 workers from the company in question needed to be tested, along with another 1,000 workers from two other companies with whom they were connected.
“The number will remain high this week,” he said.