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Thousands of Palestinians being deprived of Hajj due to Israel’s control over Rafah crossing

GAZA: Thousands of Palestinians have been prevented from performing the Hajj pilgrimage due to Israel’s control over the Rafah crossing, according to Palestine’s Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs.

“Preventing thousands of Gazans from performing the Hajj is a blatant violation of freedom of worship and international humanitarian law,” the ministry stated.

“This is yet another war crime added to the series of offenses committed by the Israeli occupation against our people and their places of worship,” the statement continued.

Meanwhile, Spain, Ireland, and Norway are going to recognize an independent Palestinian state in the hope that this step will contribute to achieving peace with Israel.

Recent weeks have seen other European Union members, such as Slovenia and Malta, indicating their intention to recognize Palestine. They argue that a two-state solution is crucial for ensuring lasting peace in the region.

“In the middle of a war, with tens of thousands of dead and injured, we must keep alive the only thing that can provide a safe home for both Israelis and Palestinians: two states that can live in peace with each other,” Støre stated during a press conference.

Prior to these announcements, 143 out of the 193 United Nations member states had already recognized a Palestinian state. European nations have varied in their approach to this issue.

Sweden, for instance, recognized a Palestinian state a decade ago. On the other hand, France has maintained that it will only do so if it proves to be an effective tool in advancing the peace process.

These developments occur against a backdrop of intensified conflict. In May, Israeli forces launched assaults on the northern and southern edges of the Gaza Strip, resulting in a new wave of displacement for hundreds of thousands of people. The situation has been exacerbated by severe restrictions on aid, raising the risk of famine in the region.

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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