Saudi bans Arab citizens of Israel from Mecca pilgrimage

International Desk Published: 9 November 2018, 03:46 PM
Saudi bans Arab citizens of Israel from Mecca pilgrimage
File Photo

The Gulf Kingdom issued the veto on Palestinians with Israeli citizenship entering the country, meaning they cannot make Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site made by millions of Muslims each year.

Since 1978 Palestinian Muslims have been able to use temporary Jordanian passport to enter and leave Saudi Arabia.

But Riyadh has now closed this loophole.

Israeli citizens are not accepted in 16 Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Haaretz claims Israel’s hajj and umrah committee reported they are not able to travel to Mecca in December.

The committee has called on the head of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Israel to raise the issue with Jordanian officials.

Chairman of the committee, Hajj Salim Shalata, told Haaretz: “We have no explanation for what happened, so we appealed to every possible avenue of help, but to our great regret the pilgrimage that was supposed to take place in December, for which thousands of people have registered, will not be held."

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman recognised Israel's right to exist earlier this year.

It be believed the 33-year-old prince, held secret talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks in Jordanian capital Amman.

Mr Netanyahu revealed in November 2017 that Tel Aviv had opened “contacts” with the Saudis.

The secret relations come amid shared concerns between Israel and Saudi Arabia over Iran.

There has also been alleged military cooperation between the Saudis and Israel, including a £190 million ($250 million) weapons deal involving the sale of Israeli espionage technology.

Saudi Arabia has also bought Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.

All Muslims must make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.

Hajj falls every year after Islam’s holiest holiday, Eid al-Adha.

Source: Daily Express