Published: 2017-11-03 18:59
Last Updated: 2017-11-04 10:01
Hundreds of Christian Palestinians with Israeli citizenships travelled to Lebanon for pilgrimage during the last year, despite Israel being classified as an enemy state there. Groups of people with different ages, sometimes up to 50 members, spend one-week-long trips inside Lebanon, organized by the Galilee’s Christian clergymen, according to an article published by Haaretz newspaper.
One of the organizers said that the trips are not underground or infiltration, but they are very organized, and never publicly announced due to their sensitivity. He also mentioned that these are completely religious visits in which Christians go for pilgrimage,” Just as Muslims go to Mecca and Medina, we go to the holy Christian sites in Lebanon,” according to the newspaper.
Palestinians with Israeli citizenships rarely visit Lebanon, despite some of the writers and artists making it after being invited by cultural centers in Lebanon, or for participating in music contest. The latest visit was made by actor Muhammad Bakri, who participated in series of performances in Beirut.
These trips usually start from Al-Sheikh Hussien Bridge between Israel and Jordan, where the Israeli passports stamped. The group then stays in Jordan for two days until their Palestinian Passports are stamped, and then they travel to Beirut through Amman’s international airport.
Pilgrims sign up for these trips at churches in Israel, and after their requests are approved, their names go to the Palestinian Authority offices in order to issue Palestinian passports for them; these passports are valid for one visit only, and they are given back immediately after the trip is over.