Israel Denies Tourists Access to Bethlehem

Bethlehem Skyline. (Photo: Alternet)

Israel has tightened restrictions on the movement of tourists to the occupied West Bank with particular limitations on their access to occupied Bethlehem, sources told Ma’an.

According to the news site, sources said that Israeli authorities were distributing leaflets outlining the “measures and restrictions” which apply to tourists who arrive through Ben-Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv. These include restrictions on travel to Bethlehem.

Tourists who refuse to sign the document will not be issued a visa to enter Israel.

Israel has imposed a number of restrictive measures on the movement of tourists it deems to be supportive of the Palestinians people including banning those who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

This could pose a large problem for Palestinians who work in the travel industry. Business Day reported that Palestinian hotels registered 906,000 stays by foreign visitors in 2016, down from 1.1-million in 2014. In Israel, by contrast, foreigners logged 8.5-million nights in hotels in 2016.

While government figures show Israel received more than $6bn from tourism in 2016, the Palestinian lands registered less than $1.1bn in 2014, the most recent data available.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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