In anticipation of the upcoming Christmas Holiday, the IDF and Civil Administration have issued an unlimited quota of one month-long permits for Palestinian residents of the Judea and Samaria region, allowing them entry to Israel for religious and family gatherings.
The army said that more than 10,000 permits, valid between December 20th and January 20th have so far been issued.
In addition, 300 Christian-Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip over the age of 35 will be permitted entry into the Judea and Samaria region for 24 hours during the holiday, the IDF said.
Another 300 Christian Palestinians will be permitted to cross to the Ben Gurion International Airport. These permits will be issued subject to a security clearance.
The army stressed that security forces would continue to operate in order to ensure freedom of religion and normal way of life for Palestinians uninvolved in terrorism. This is in accordance with security assessments and while continuing to combat terrorism.
Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres offered his warmest blessings to Christian communities around the world. He gave his blessings from the President's Residence in Jerusalem and posted them on his recently launched YouTube channel.
"From here, from the eternal city of Jerusalem, from this beautiful place, I want to wish each of you, and all of us, a happy and merry Christmas," said Peres. "Let's pray the next year will be a year of peace, of brotherhood, of tolerance, of affluence. That nobody will suffer unnecessarily. That everybody will be helped accordingly. This is the call of heaven. This is the wish of our lord. This should be our own purpose. Let's celebrate and hope and do accordingly. All the best to all of you."