by The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF)
The Israeli Government has rescinded its policy of granting re-entry visas to Arab Christian ministers, priests, nuns and other religious workers who wish to travel in and out of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, according to information provided to the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) by Christian clergy in
Until now, re-entry visas were normally granted in
However, HCEF has been informed that Arab Christian church workers will henceforth have to apply for re-entry visas at Israeli consulates abroad each time they travel outside the areas of Israeli control.
Since visa applications submitted to Israeli missions abroad are normally not acted upon for months after they are filed, his new Israeli policy means that religious personnel will no longer be able to move freely between their parishes in the occupied territories and any points out side of those areas.
Christian church workers normally travel frequently between their parishes and their churches' offices in
Many of the clergy and other church workers in the occupied Palestinian territories are from nearby
Indeed, that has already happened. Rev. Fares Khleifat, a pastor and the only Greek Melkite priest in Ramallah, traveled to
Forced to remain in
The new Israeli policy makes it unlikely that any Arab Christian priests, ministers or other religious workers from the Holy Land will be able to attend HCEF's Ninth International Conference, scheduled for October 26-27 in
Christian personnel based in the
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