During the month of Ramadan, Palestinians were more freely able to pass between the West Bank and Jerusalem. Now it’s back to the old rules of military occupation.
Text by Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org
The final Friday of Ramadan was also the final day in which Israel temporarily “relaxed” its restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank.
Throughout the past month, which Muslims mark as the holiest time of the year, Israel allowed women of all ages, men over 40, and children under 12 to enter Jerusalem for Friday prayers without special entry permits. Palestinians were also granted permission to enter Jerusalem on Laylat al-Qadr last Wednesday, which Muslims mark as the night when the first verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad.
Over the past month, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians traveled through both Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah and the Checkpoint 300 outside Bethlehem. Some young Palestinians who were not allowed through the checkpoints used ropes and ladders to climb over the separation wall.
Over 250,000 Palestinians lost a rare chance to cross the Green Line after the Israeli government revoked their entry permits. The Israeli government revoked entry permits from 250,000 Palestinians last week following an attack three Palestinians against Israeli security forces in Jerusalem’s Damascus Gate, which killed Border Police officer Hadas Malka. Those permits, which were granted for “family visits” during the month of Ramadan and the three-day holiday of Eid al-Fitr (which begins on Sunday), were meant to be valid throughout the entire month and during the holiday, aside from weekends.
The “relaxed” restrictions, as they are termed by the Israeli authorities, have come to an end. Palestinians in the West Bank will now return to the rules of military occupation, which control their movement in the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Until the next Ramadan.