COGAT accommodates arrival of tens of thousands for Ramadan prayers

Special measures taken to allow for the passage of large numbers of worshipers through crossings in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem areas on the first Friday of Ramadan

Date: 25/07/2012, 1:05 PM     Author: COGAT Website

The month of Ramadan began last Friday (July 20) and with it the task of coordinating the increased activity at the crossings in Judea and Samaria. COGAT and the Civil Administration make sure to accommodate the needs of Palestinians in the region who participate Ramadan prayers.

The Jerusalem Periphery Coordination and Liaison Administration carried out massive preparations for the first Friday of Ramadan, expecting large numbers of worshippers to arrive at the various crossings in the Jerusalem region for the traditional Friday prayers on the Temple Mount. Officers of the IDF (Zahal) and the Jerusalem District Coordinating Liaison (DCL), with support from other DCL administrations in Judea and Samaria and the unit’s reserve officers, were assembled by evening and underwent a final preparation. The preparations, managed by Lt. Col. Ofer Mei-Tal, Head of the Jerusalem Region DCL Administration, included a survey of the Ramadan festival and the modus operandi of the DCL forces in the field.

During the night, final infrastructural preparations were completed at the Kalandia Crossing – the main crossing for those travelling to Friday prayers on the Temple Mount – in order to receive the expected travelers in the best possible manner. Among the main preparations undertaken was the positioning of shade nets and coolers in order to alleviate the oppressive July heat. At 3:00 a.m., well before sunrise, the DCL awoke, primed and ready for their mission. IDF (Zahal) and DCL officers then dispersed around Kalandia and the sector’s other main crossings.

Officers of the Border Guard, Israel Police and Military Police officers were stationed at the Kalandia Crossing in order to maintain security. They were accompanied by representatives of the DCL dressed in yellow vests bearing the words “Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria” in Hebrew, English and Arabic, so as to enable easy identification for queries from the public.

The DCL’s role at the crossings is to work in conjunction with the security forces and to take care of special cases arising there. They serve as a liaison between the security forces and Palestinian civilians.

In addition, representatives and ambulances of the Red Crescent were stationed at Kalandia, so as to care of special humanitarian cases. The DCL’s Officer of International Organizations cooperated with the Red Crescent and additional organizations present at the Crossing in order to provide swift and successful solutions to any potential problems.

By the day’s end, approximately 25,000 people had passed through the various crossings in the Jerusalem Periphery sector. Meanwhile, the Bethlehem sector’s crossings also witnessed large-scale activity, with approximately 22,000 Palestinian civilians passing through the Rachel Crossing. In total, approximately 46,000 Palestinian civilians were counted entering Israel during the first Friday of Ramadan.

Large numbers of visitors are expected on the coming Fridays and in preparation for the Islamic holidays of Laylat al-Qadr and Eid-ul Fitr.

The Civil Administration safeguards the freedom of worship and the right of worshippers to pass through and pray on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The various DCL offices are prepared for the upcoming Fridays and are implementing an ongoing process of evaluating their efforts and drawing conclusions in this regard.