Israel Revokes More Ramadan Perks, Permits Following Gaza Rocket Fire

This is the second time this week Israel has canceled some of the goodwill gestures offered to Palestinians for Ramadan.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Palestinian pilgrims crossing the Beit Hanoun checkpoint on their way to the Erez border crossing and then to Jerusalem, during the holiday of Eid al-Adha, Oct. 5, 2014.
Palestinian pilgrims crossing the Beit Hanoun checkpoint on their way to the Erez border crossing and then to Jerusalem, during the holiday of Eid al-Adha, Oct. 5, 2014.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel has cancelled more goodwill gestures granted to the Palestinians for the month-long Ramadan fast period following Tuesday night's rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into Israel.

The Coordinator of Government Activity in the Territories (COGAT), Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an on Wednesday morning that it has been decided to ban the entry into Israel of residents of the Gaza Strip who wish to participate in the Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a result of the rocket fire.

Israel had planned to allow some 500 male and female residents of Gaza, all at least 40 years old, to enter Israel on Thursday and attend the prayer services on Friday. Mordechai said the situation at the Erez border crossing is not safe because of the rocket fire, causing Israel to forbid the entry of Palestinians from Gaza this week.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Wednesday told a cyber conference held at Tel Aviv University that "we have once again experienced rocket fire from Gaza this morning. We once again see internal conflicts in the [Gaza] Strip [between] Hamas and Salafi organizations loyal to ISIS." Ya'alon added Israel was forced to cancel the easing of restrictions for Gaza residents: "This is an unbearable situation and we will continue to act so the quiet can continue."

This is the second time this week Israel has canceled some of the goodwill gestures offered to Palestinians for Ramadan. On Sunday evening, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon announced changes in policy concerning Palestinians during Ramadan fast following the attacks.

The travel permits granted to 500 Palestinian residents of the West Bank allowing them to travel overseas via Ben-Gurion International Airport will also be canceled, the Defense Ministry announced, following the recent terror attacks in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Prior to their cancellation, the permits had been approved in advance by COGAT.

The Ministry also cancelled the entry permits into Israel of the residents of the village of Sa'ir near Hebron, where the alleged terrorist who committed the attack in Jerusalem came from. "Other steps will be considered later," said the Defense Minister's Bureau.

Last week, the security establishment has decided to allow the entry of buses from Ramallah and Bethlehem that will transport the worshippers directly to the Old City in Jerusalem. COGAT called it “a very significant easing of the rules.”

In addition, 50 Palestinian reporters “from national media outlets that do not engage in incitement,” in Mordechai’s words, will receive permission from Israel to cover the Ramadan festivities in East Jerusalem.

Israel was also considering allowing organized transportation for Gaza residents to the Allenby Bridge crossing for those heading on a pilgrimage to Mecca. COGAT said that this will depend on certain changes being made at the Rafah crossing.

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