A few times a year, the Israeli army gives Palestinians tens of thousands of entry permits and thousands of Palestinians see the sea for the first time.
Photos by Oren Ziv/Activestills.org
Most of the West Bank is no more than an hour’s drive from the beach, but the Palestinians who live there cannot visit the Mediterranean without a special permit from the Israeli army. Those permits are usually difficult to come by.
A few times a year, however, the army issues large numbers of entry permits to West Bank Palestinians, mostly during Muslim holidays. During the Eid al-Adha holiday this week, for example, the army issued 100,000 permits to Palestinians valid from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to AFP. For many, it is their first opportunity to swim in the sea.
Many Palestinians were expelled from towns and cities inside Israel before and during the 1948 war, others temporarily fled the fighting but were not allowed to return once it ended. Jaffa, which was one of the largest Palestinian cities and economic centers before the war, was depopulated of the vast majority of its Palestinian residents.
During Muslim holidays in which the Israeli army allows Palestinians to enter Israel, like Ramadan and Eid al-Edha, thousands make the journey to Jaffa to hold barbecues along the shore and enjoy the beach and sea. Others head to Haifa and Acre in the north of the country.
Although Jaffa still has a significant Palestinian population, it has a Jewish majority today and is in the process of rapid gentrification that is leading to the displacement of more and more Palestinian residents.