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Israel eases restrictions on Palestinians for Muslim holiday of Ramadan

More Muslim worshippers will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount for Friday prayers.

Muslims attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, April 22, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.
Muslims attend Friday prayers on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, April 22, 2022. Photo by Jamal Awad/Flash90.

Israel approved on Monday a number of steps to benefit Palestinians during the monthlong Ramadan holiday that starts on the evening of March 22.

More Palestinian worshippers than usual will be allowed to enter the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as the Al-Aqsa compound, for Friday prayers during the holiday, announced Maj. Gen. Ghassan Alian, the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

Females of all ages, boys up to the age of 12 and men 55 and older will be allowed entry without the need for a permit. Men aged between 45 and 55 will be allowed entry with a permit.

The Israel Defense Forces also announced that permits would be issued to Palestinians residing in Judea and Samaria looking to visit family members living west of the Green Line.

Foreigners who want to visit relatives in Judea and Samaria may also enter. Those visitors will be able to come through Ramon Airport, located north of Eilat. Permits for foreign visitors are required and will be granted following a security check.

The IDF will also expand activity at checkpoints in Judea and Samaria to ease access and movement.

Israel also approved entry for a limited number of persons from the Gaza Strip, women 50 and older and men 55 and older, to visit Jerusalem between Sundays and Thursdays.

The measures came after Israeli, Palestinian Authority, Jordanian, Egyptian and U.S. officials met in the Egyptian Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh on Sunday to de-escalate tensions.

The parties agreed on nine points, among which Israel committed to “stop discussion of any new settlement units for four months, and to stop authorization of any outposts for six months.”

Both sides “agreed to develop a mechanism to curb and counter-violence, incitement and inflammatory statements and actions.”

U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday night, during which he “welcomed” the Egypt meeting, and “reinforced the need for all sides to take urgent, collaborative steps to enhance security coordination, condemn all acts of terrorism, and maintain the viability of a two-state solution.”

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