Haj in Mecca, Saudi Arabia (R) 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
From Israeli prison cells to a religious pilgrimage - hundreds of recently freed Palestinians travel to Saudi Arabia for Haj.
The former inmates were among 477 Palestinians released last month in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit.
Many, like Nassr Al Namla who spent 21 years in jail, were overjoyed.
"We are still in a dream and we don't understand -- we can't grasp if
it's a reality or a dream. It's just beyond our imagination -- just
beyond our imagination. To go from prison to Gaza and from prison cells
to Mecca, Saudi Arabia -- this is something no mind could fathom. "
"It is a very nice feeling because I had not seen my wife and children
until we just met at Mount Arafat nearly two weeks after my release from
The men said Saudi Arabia flew them to the country where they joined an estimated 3 million Muslims in Mecca.