Hamas Bars Gaza Orphans From Visiting Israel

ISRAEL-GAZA BORDER (Reuters) -

Hamas authorities in the Gaza Strip prevented on Sunday a group of Palestinian children who lost parents in the July-August war from making a rare goodwill visit to Israel, organizers of the trip said.

Gaza’s Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry, citing the children’s “suspicious” itinerary, confirmed they were barred from crossing the border.

Israeli peace activists said they had secured permission from the military to admit the 37 children and five accompanying adults for a week-long tour of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Yoel Marshak, an activist named on the permit, said the group included children of Hamas terrorists killed in the 50-day war.

During their visit, Marshak said, the children were to have toured Arab towns in Israel as well as southern areas that had been under threat of Gaza rockets. The schedule also included a meeting with Abbas in Ramallah.