By Osama al-Ghassani
JERUSALEM (AA) – At least 769 Palestinians have been denied exit from the blockaded Gaza Strip by Israeli authorities since January, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Wednesday.
The applicants included Palestinians who sought medical treatment for diseases such as cancer.
According to Haaretz, Israeli authorities cited first-degree relations between the applicants and Hamas members for denying them exit from the seaside enclave.
Last year, Israel denied exit to only 21 Gazans.
Since 2007, the Gaza Strip has groaned under a crippling Israeli blockade that continues to deprive its inhabitants of many essential commodities, including food, fuel, medicine and building materials.
Israeli intelligence service has been exploiting exit permits to blackmail Palestinians for security information, while many others are being detained at Israeli access points despite holding permits.