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A U.S. charity building a tent hospital in the Gaza Strip is causing Palestinian unease by offering foreign medical volunteers the opportunity of weekend tourism in Israel, just across the volatile border.

The facility, to be operated by the U.S. evangelical Christian group FriendShips, had won rare joint support from Gaza’s Islamist rulers Hamas and their enemy, Israel, which maintains a blockade along its frontier with the enclave.

Now, however, eyebrows are being raised in Gaza over a Holy Land pilgrimage pitch on the Louisiana-based organization’s website that is promoting an endeavor to improve health services strained by years of conflict.

The 50-bed encampment in northern Gaza across from Israel’s Erez border crossing “will offer a wonderful opportunity to work in an important and productive project and, at the same time, to see and enjoy the Biblical sites of Israel”, the website said.

Volunteers at the facility would be expected to work and live onsite Monday through Thursday but they “will be free to go to Israel and tour” on their days off, it said.

Asked about the NGO’s tourism perk to volunteers, Hamas official Basim Naeem said: “We are certainly against using our people’s suffering to market Israel or attracting employees at our people’s expense.” Read more

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A U.S. charity building a tent hospital in the Gaza Strip is causing Palestinian unease by offering foreign medical volunteers the opportunity of weekend tourism in Israel, just across the volatile border.

A U.S. charity building a tent hospital in the Gaza Strip is causing Palestinian unease by offering foreign medical volunteers the opportunity of weekend tourism in Israel, just across the volatile border.

A U.S. charity building a tent hospital in the Gaza Strip is causing Palestinian unease by offering foreign medical volunteers the opportunity of weekend tourism in Israel, just across the volatile border.