Easing restrictions in the West Bank and Gaza during Ramadan


Easing restrictions at West Bank crossings (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

(Communicated by the IDF and Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)

In honor of the Ramadan period that began on August 1, the IDF and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT) will ease restrictions, as recommended by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz. These policies are intended to improve the welfare of Palestinians in the West Bank and were approved by Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Throughout the Ramadan month, Palestinians will receive permits to visit family members in Israel. Gate 107 leading to Qalqilya will be open every day for the departure Israeli Arabs accommodating these visits. Palestinians will also be able to travel abroad via Ben Gurion Airport.

Other Ramadan accommodations include the free travel of supply trucks between the Jordan Valley and the West Bank. Crossings in the northern Jordan Valley will allow passage of Israeli Arabs, and the Beit Mishpat crossing to Ramallah will extend its operational hours until midnight.

The IDF also approved the entry of an additional 1,000 merchants into Israel, who are married with children and are over the age of 28. On weekdays, 2,000 Palestinians will be able to pray at Temple Mount.

Authorized entry into Temple Mount will be given to Palestinian residents of the West Bank for both Friday night and Laylat al-Qadr prayers. Men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 will be able to enter for prayer without any restrictions while married men (age 45) and women (age 30) with children will be given permission into Temple Mount after receiving the appropriate permits.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj. Gen. Eitan Dangot met with representatives of the Palestinian Authority and notified them of the Ramadan Period gestures and easing of restrictions. Civil Administration representatives also informed the Palestinian population of the accommodations. They briefed all forces operating in the area about Ramadan holiday times and traditions and distributed educational pamphlets.

IDF soldiers have been given orders to show special consideration toward the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and were instructed to avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public, especially at the various crossings. The soldiers will thus demonstrate a high level of respect and understanding towards the celebrating Palestinians.

Measures towards the Gaza strip in honor of Ramadan
(Communicated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)

COGAT spokesman announced (August 2, 2011) that the Minister of Defense approved the following measures in honor of the Ramadan period and as part of the civil policy towards the Gaza Strip:

1. Allocation an additional 3 million cubic meters of water from Israel to Gaza, in order to improve the quantity and quality of drinking water for the population in the Gaza Strip.

2. Import of construction materials for 10 private sector factories in Gaza, under the supervision of the international community.

3. Change of address of over 1,900 Gaza residents, which actually live in Judea and Samaria.

4. Textile and furniture exports and expansion of the range of agricultural exports to Jordan.

5. Expanding the number of merchants approved to enter to Israel and to Judea and Samaria.

These measures were made possible following staff work, which was directed by the Coordinator of Government Activities in Territories and included numerous meetings with various governmental ministries and security agencies, the Palestinian Authority, and the international community.