(Communicated by the Coordinator of Activities in the Territories)
Jerusalem, 22 November 2001
©2001 Reuter/Mahfouz Abu Turk
Muslims attend prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem on the first Friday of Ramadan
The Muslim month of Ramadan began this year on November 16, and will end on December 17. In the course of this month, Muslims fast, hold special prayers in the mosques, visit their holy places and spend time with family. Despite the difficult security situation, Israel is conscious of the great importance of this month and, in order to facilitate freedom of worship and observation of religious traditions, Israel has authorized a series of steps to ease conditions for the Palestinian population. These steps relate to the social, economic and humanitarian realms, and are described below.
In the economic sphere:
- Expanding commercial activities between the West Bank and Israel, and vice versa (to include a wide range of goods, and extending the operating hours of the transit points).
- Increasing the number of Palestinian workers employed in Israel, in the agricultural sector, and adding other sectors to the employment program.
- Increasing, from 2000 to 5000, the number of Palestinian merchants allowed to enter Israel from the areas under PA administration.
In the social-humanitarian sphere:
- Easing restrictions on travel within the area of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
- Permitting family visits between the two areas (500 in each area).
- Permitting worshippers from Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to attend prayers on Temple Mount, within certain security-based criteria.
- Releasing prisoners and detainees for the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
- Adding extra days for Muslim worship at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in the course of the month.
- Resumption of prison visits in Israel for prisoners from Judea and Samaria, in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the transfer of food items to prisoners in Israel.
- Authorization of family visits for first-degree relatives from Arab countries (within certain criteria, and subject to security clearance).
- Authorization of movement for Palestinian police convoys from Judea and Samaria to Gaza.
||President Katsav issues Ramadan greetings – Nov 15, 2001|
||DM Ben-Eliezer: Easing of restrictions on Palestinian population for Ramadan – Nov 15, 2001|