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UN urges Israel to ease travel for Palestinians

Prière du premier jour du ramadan le 19 juin 2015 à l'extérieur de la mosquée d'Al Aqsa, à Jerusalem
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP/Archives)
Israel revokes permits for 500 Palestinians after Gaza terror groups fire rockets on southern Israel

UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged Israel on Wednesday to ease restrictions on travel for Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank for Ramadan prayers.

Israel has eased restrictions on Palestinians seeking to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest site, for Ramadan.

But the Jewish state announced earlier Wednesday that it was revoking permits for 500 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to enter Jerusalem for prayers during the holy Muslim month because of rocket fire from the Palestinian enclave.

Ban "welcomes Israel s measures to ease some restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza," Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council.

"He encourages Israel to sustain and expand these confidence-building measures which enable the legitimate movement of people and goods in and between Gaza and the West Bank including east-Jerusalem, and improve the quality of life of Palestinians."

Gaza, ruled by the radical Islamist movement Hamas and ravaged by three wars in the past six years, is under a full blockade at its border with Egypt, with Israel maintaining strict control over the entry and exit of goods and people through its border with the Strip.

The latest cancellations of travel permits only applied to this week, Israel said, meaning it should resume next week allowing up to 800 Gazans to travel for Friday prayers to Al-Aqsa, the third holiest site in Islam.

Pro-Palestinian activists aboard a flotilla of boats plan to reach the shores of the Gaza Strip by the end of the month, in their latest bid to break Israel's blockade of the tiny coastal enclave.

But Feltman said the UN secretary-general "continues to believe that a flotilla will not help to address the dire situation in Gaza."

A similar attempt five years ago ended in bloodshed, after Turkish activists brutally attacked Israeli commandos who entered their boat, resulting in the death of 10 Turkish activists and triggering a diplomatic crisis with Ankara.

(with AFP)

Comments

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How about the UN urging Gaza terror groups to cease fire rockets on southern Israel? "A similar attempt five years ago ended in bloodshed, after Turkish activists brutally attacked Israeli commandos who entered their boat, resulting in the death of 10 Turkish activists and triggering a diplomatic crisis with Ankara." WOW! The AFP finally reporting the facts! Israel boarded the boat to ensure weapons were not being transported to supply Hamas Terrorists. They encountered threats to their lives, hence defended themselves. This time, the IDF should bring media reporters with video-cams to record the future flotilla to Gaza, to show the world the stark reality of supporters of terror. Israel itself supplies endless humanitarian aid to Gaza, despite it being a Hamas terror enclave. Do you think Israel would ever object to a flotilla of humanitarian aid to Gaza from any country? All Israel expects is no weapons to be onboard. Simple enough.

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