The few thousand Christians in the Gaza Strip will not be able to travel to Bethlehem to celebrate the birth of the Savior, so the Jewish state decided on December 12, 2019.
The Israeli authorities have in fact decreed that the Palestinian Christians will only be able to receive permits to go abroad by way of Jordan, but that none of them will be able to go to Israel or to the West Bank to celebrate Christmas in the Holy Places.
One of the army’s spokesmen responsible for relations with the Palestinians justified the move for security reasons. A new harassment for the Christians of Gaza, who in April 2018 had already been refused access to Jerusalem for the Easter holidays.
Also, faced with an obvious lack of prospects, not to mention deplorable living conditions, emigration appears to be the only solution.
“In 15 years, we have lost more than 70% of the Christian population of Gaza, explains Fr. Mario Da Silva, on site. “In 2003 and 2004, there were approximately 4,500 Christians in Gaza; today the numbers are around 900-1,000 Christians,” he noted with regret.
In order to encourage the faithful, the apostolic administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem came to spend three days in the Gaza Strip, from December 13 to 15.
Despite this umpteenth annoyance on the part of the Israeli authorities, “the Child Jesus will still come to our house,” a Christian from Gaza confides to the Fides agency.