The Israeli defense establishment is expected to ease travel restrictions for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza territories during the Muslim’s holy fasting month of Ramadan, several news outlets report.
Quoting Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, Haaretz reports: “Men over the age of 40 and women of any age who are West Bank residents will be able to come to Friday prayers on the Temple Mount. Starting this Friday, the unit will allow those who meet these criteria to travel to prayer services in Jerusalem.”
“The security establishment has decided to allow the entry of buses from Ramallah and Bethlehem that will transport the worshippers directly to the Old City in Jerusalem,” it adds.
It is “a very significant easing of the rules,” said Gen. Mordechai.
He reportedly warned that “Israel has made it clear to the Palestinian Authority that any security escalation in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during this time will meet a forceful response.”
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are also expected to facilitate the movement of thousands of Palestinians from West Bank cities and the Gaza Strip who want to visit family members in Israel, reports Israel Hayom.
Reportedly, Gen. Mordechai made it abundantly clear that only those seeking to visit immediate family members will be allowed to travel.
“Some 650 Palestinians residing overseas have been granted visas to Israel to visit relatives living in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip,” notes Israel Hayom.
“These visas have been conditioned in their agreeing to leave Israel once Ramadan ends. Some 500 Palestinians will also be able to travel overseas through Ben-Gurion International Airport,” it adds.
Israel’s defense body has also granted travel permits to Palestinians seeking to make the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. They are expected to travel through Israel’s Allenby Bridge, a crossing along the country’s border with Jordan.
“Some 50 Palestinian journalists were granted entry permits to Israel as well, to cover Ramadan events nationwide, after the defense establishment confirmed their media outlets do no not incite violence against Israel,” revealed Israel Hayom.