(Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)
The IDF and the Civil Administration are preparing for the upcoming Ramadan period which starts tomorrow, 1 September 2008, and is followed by the Muslim holiday of Eid el-Fitr, to be observed by Palestinian Muslims in the Judea and Samaria region.
According to the decision of the Minister of Defense, during the month of Ramadan, Palestinians who meet the following criteria will be permitted to attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount:
- Married men between the ages 45-50 and married women between the ages of 30-45 who have received permission from the Civil Administration.
- Men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 will be allowed to enter freely.
The following steps were decided upon in order improve the daily life of the Palestinian population in the Judea and Samaria region during this period. The decision to take these steps was made following security assessments by the IDF Central Command and the Civil Administration. During the Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr period:
- The opening hours of different checkpoints will be extended.
Israeli Arabs will be allowed to enter area A.
- The transfer of gifts to Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons will be authorized.
In addition, officers from the Civil Administration held meetings with senior Palestinian religious representatives (from the Muslim Waqf) and were updated on the prayer times and religious events expected to take place during this period.
Furthermore, representatives of the Civil Administration briefed the forces operating in the region and distributed leaflets explaining the times, dates and customs relating to the Holiday. Soldiers were directed to show consideration for the population and were instructed to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in populated areas, with an emphasis on the crossings points.
The Ramadan period, which this year takes place between the dates 1-30 September 2008, marks the month in which according to Muslim tradition Prophet Muhammad received the Koran.