The Hamas-run Palestinian enclave’s dwindling Christian community held a mass in Gaza city yesterday, one week ahead of Christmas. Christians make up a minority of about 3,500 people, most of whom are Catholic, out of Gaza’s 1.5 million, predominantly Sunni-Muslim population, run by Islamist organizations. “The message this year is a message calling for peace in the Arab world especially in Palestine and Syria after the recent news of what happened in Aleppo we hope that peace will be spread all over and this year will be a nonviolent year,” said Nadya Masoud, Christian resident of Gaza.
Israel’s Defense Ministry, in charge of policy in the Palestinian territories announced that it will allow some 700 Palestinian Christians from Gaza to visit the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and will ease restrictions on Palestinian travel for the entire Christmas season. It will also allow Christian Palestinians to enter Israel, as well as travel abroad via its international airport, Ben Gurion.