Wednesday, December 22, 2021

  • Wednesday, December 22, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon


Yesterday, Hamas sent out a text message to the merchants who have permits to visit Israel for trade and have not returned:

"Brother merchant, for the sake of your interest, we ask you to return to Gaza no later than Thursday 23/12.  Your delay will prevent you from automatically renewing your permit."

It seems that many of these merchants take advantage of the permit system to escape Hamas permanently.

Since 2016, nearly 3,300 Gazans who were given permits to leave for any reason (including visiting relatives in hospitals) have not returned, according to Israeli authorities, causing some alarm from the Im Tirtzu NGO worried that they are terrorist sleeper cells.

It is a small percentage of all permits given - about 3% - and those who have business permits are vetted.

We have noted in the past that the Christian population of Gaza has plummeted from 5,000 when Hamas took over to less than 1,000 now, and the reason is that when the Christians are given permission to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem on Christmas, many never come back. Israel seems to know about this and quietly allows them to stay with relatives in the West Bank, knowing how bad it is for Christians in Gaza. 

The statistics released do not break down the non-returnees by the reason for the permits, so it is hard to know how many escaped using business or hospital/prisoner visits as the excuse and how many left for religious reasons. But Hamas' text message indicates that at least some of them are merchants who use their permits to escape.








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