Palestinians cross into Israel (illustrative)..
(photo credit: COGAT)
Security preparations are underway for the month of Ramadan, which will begin this year on May 6.
The Unit for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), led by Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, said it is taking measures to ensure freedom of religion and worship.
Palestinians living in the West Bank will be permitted to visit family in Israel between Sunday and Thursday and on Eid al-Fitr, which this year falls on June 5. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. Operating hours at the crossings will be extended in order to serve those observing the holiday.
Further, entry for Friday prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount will be permitted, as will travel abroad through Ben-Gurion Airport, which will be coordinated in advance. Relatives living in Arab countries should likewise be able to coordinate visiting family members in the West Bank.
Rukun said he has advised senior officials in the Palestinian Authority and representatives of the international community regarding these holiday gestures, as well as sent information about the allowances to members of the Palestinian community and the IDF forces operating in the field.
This week, from April 19 to April 27, COGAT closed all crossings to and from the West Bank and Gaza to Palestinians, in order to protect Jewish travelers and tourists during the Passover holiday. Only those Palestinians traveling for humanitarian, medical or other related cases can enter Israel.
Superintendent Micky Rosenfeld, Israel Police foreign press spokesman, said that increased security is necessary during the Passover holiday due to a history of increased security risk.
In 2017, for example, head of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) Nadav Argaman warned that terrorist groups may try to carry out attacks during Passover.
“We are just before the Passover holiday, and there is no doubt that terrorist infrastructure – mostly the established one, and specifically Hamas – will try to agitate the area and carry out attacks,” Argaman told the Knesset’s powerful Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in a briefing.
During the Second Intifada in 2002, a Hamas operative carried out a suicide bombing during a Passover Seder being held at the Park Hotel in Netanya. Some 29 people were murdered and 64 others wounded in that event.
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