Saudi Arabia has banned Palestinians as well as Israeli muslims from entering the Kingdom with temporary passports – which means the chances for them to perform pilgrimedge to Islam’s holiest site Mecca are over.
Performing Hajj, which is a mandatory duty of every muslim, has become nearly impossible for Palestinians as Saudi Arabia and Israel do not have diplomatic relationships, Palestinians in Israel have to apply for a temporary Jordanian visa to visit Mecca.
However, in the latest events, Kingdom has limited Palestinians access hence, temporary passports will no longer be accepted. Palestinians refugees living in Lebanon and Jordan, as well as those living in Israel occupied East Jerusalem were banned from getting visas. The revised travel restrictions have affected approximately three million Palestinians.
”The decision is affecting every Arab and Muslim who has the right to worship” – said Abu Mahfouz, Jordianian MP, speaking to Middle East Eye.
About 6,600 people from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza went to perform Hajj in 2017, upto 70,000 performed Umrah every year.
International reporting sources said that Jordanian officicals and the members of Israeli Hajj Committee have said that Saudi-Israel agreement could provide solution to the problem and prove to be a way forward for allowing Israeli Muslim citizens to perform Hajj.
They said that they’re hopeful that this move will be made as a part of welcoming and strengthening alliance between both countries. With that, millions of Muslims residing there will also freely get to enjoy their right to performing Hajj and Umrah – both having a mandatory status in the religion.
Meanwhile, a Jorban-based source also confirmed to Middle East Eye that this move is a part of agreement with Israel to put an end to ”Palestinian identity and the right of return for refugees”
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