Israeli Minister of Tourism Aharonovitch and Palestinian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Daibes, meeting for the first time since Hamas entered the Palestinian Authority governing body, call on tourists and pilgrims from the all over the world to visit Israel and the Palestinian Authority.




(Communicated by the Ministry of Tourism)

After a protracted period during which no joint activities between the ministries took place, the two ministers met in order to discuss ways to advance joint tourist endeavors between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In the course of the meeting, both sides concurred that the advancement of tourism to this region is of mutual interest and that joint activities should be expanded between the ministries to include periodic meetings between the ministers. It was decided to renew the activities of the Joint Committee on Tourism, which ceased with the entrance of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority governing body.

Minister Aharonovitch stressed that peace and the security of tourists and citizens are to be foremost priorities in steps undertaken to encourage and develop tourism to this area.

Minister Aharonovitch noted that he will continue to assist Palestinian tourism service providers to advance their commercial activity. The Ministry recently arranged for the issue of Israel entrance permits to 35 Palestinian tourism executives, and has authorized 42 Palestinian tour guides to guide within Israel. The Israel Minister of Tourism informed Minister Daibes that he is extending the validity of the permits which would otherwise expire at the end of November 2007.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism, which views with utmost importance  the efficient operation of the crossing  between Israel and the territories of the Palestinian Authority, has established an office at the Bethlehem gateway, which deals with the passage of Palestinian and East Jerusalem tourism service providers and tour groups and tourists. Shortly, the Israel Minister of Tourism will conduct a tour of the Bethlehem crossing/checkpoint to assess the possibility of operating a special lane designated for the passage of tourists only.

Within the next several weeks, the joint committee will renew its activities to advance various tourism subjects.