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June 6, 2016 2:06 pm

With Ramadan Underway, Israel Eases Restrictions on Palestinians to Facilitate Freedom of Religion, Rituals

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A border crossing between Gaza and Israel, where restrictions are being eased for Ramadan. Photo: IDF.

A border crossing between Gaza and Israel, where restrictions are being eased for Ramadan. Photo: IDF.

With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan underway, the Israeli military is taking steps to accommodate the holiday-related needs of Palestinians who live in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In a statement published ahead of Ramadan, which began on Monday, the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit (COGAT) said, “COGAT officers worked with our Palestinian counterparts around the clock to coordinate and initiate steps for this holiday season, while also maintaining freedom of religion and rituals.

“Every year, COGAT and Palestinian officers work together to determine the most effective steps in order to facilitate higher traffic crossing through Israel in order for Palestinians to observe the holidays at holy sites within Israel‪ and abroad.”

Israeli media outlets reported on Sunday that new Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman had approved a series of measures to make lives easier for Palestinians during Ramadan. These measures include allowing Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to visit relatives in Israel and take part in prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

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A COGAT statement said the measures were in line with “Israeli civil policy striving to improve the quality of life for Palestinians in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and the Gaza Strip, including maintaining freedom of religion.”

Meanwhile, COGAT announced on Monday that 726 trucks of goods had entered Gaza from Israel the previous day.

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