Hamas bars Gaza children bereaved in war from visiting Israel

Trip planned for children who lost parents during Operation Protective Edge; itinerary included visit to Ramat Gan Safari and trip to Ramallah.

Erez crossing (photo credit: REUTERS)
Erez crossing
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hamas confirmed on Sunday that it has banned a visit by Palestinian orphans from the Gaza Strip to Israel because it was in the context of “normalization” with Israelis.
The Hamas Interior Ministry claimed that a Fatah-affiliated group in the Gaza Strip had organized the visit.
Eyad al-Bazam, spokesman for the ministry, said that Hamas security forces prevented 37 sons of Palestinian “martyrs” from visiting “Zionist settlements inside the 1948 occupied lands.”
He said that the ban was aimed at “preserving the culture of our children and people and protecting them against the policy of normalization (with Israel).”
The children’s itinerary included a visit to Israel and the West Bank, where they were also scheduled to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
They were scheduled to visit the Ramat Gan Safari and attend a performance in Tel Aviv by a Jewish-Arab band.