Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi have decided to ease a series of restrictions on the Palestinian population during the month of Muslim month Ramadan, which begins Saturday.
The soldiers were instructed to act respectfully towards the residents and refrain as much as possible from eating, drinking and smoking in public in front of the Palestinian population, particularly at crossings, during the fasting hours.
According to the IDF, the ease of restrictions is part of a policy aimed at improving the fabric of life of West Bank's population. During the month of Ramadan, the activity hours of crossings leading to the cities of Jenin and Ramallah will be extended until midnight every day. The rest of the checkpoints will operate as usual, for 24 hours a day.
In addition, Israeli Arabs will be allowed to enter Jenin through the Salem crossing, between 9-11 am, and leave on buses between 4-10 pm, every day of the week excluding Friday.
Israeli Arabs will also be allowed to enter Bethlehem through the Rachel crossing in order to visit their families. Palestinian families with relatives in Israel would be able to receive visit permits for a week.
Kids may carry gun-shaped toysMen over the age of 50 and women over 45 will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount for Friday prayers. The Allenby Bridger terminal on the Israel-Jordan border will continue to operate between 8 am and midnight for the transfer of citizens and goods.
Civil Administration officials met with representatives of the Palestinian Waqf and were updated on the scheduled times of prayers and religious events. All forces operating in the area have been briefed by the Civil Administration on the holiday's customs, and introductory leaflets have been issued.
During the month of Ramadan Muslims mark the revelation of the Koran to Prophet Muhammad. Throughout the month, they fast from sunrise to sunset, and take part in traditional prayers.
The security forces have been updated that ahead of the end of Ramadan, and as part of preparations for the Eid al-Fitr festivities, Palestinian children may be carrying weapon-shaped toys and firecrackers.