A central concern, as always, is the safety and security of travelers in the
area. The DCL works closely with all the parties involved to create a stable and
secure environment for holiday worshipers. More than ten coordination meetings
are scheduled throughout this holiday season.
Furthermore, Israeli government and security officials have approved a series
of special holiday measures recommended by COGAT. These measures are designed to
respond to the needs of the Palestinian Christians from Gaza and elsewhere in
the West Bank, and facilitate easy access for holiday pilgrims.
The Coordinator of the Government Activities in the Territories, Major
General Eitan Dangot and the Head of the Civil Administration, Brigadier General
Moti Almoz visited and greeted several church leaders and representatives,
briefing them on the coordination efforts made in preparation for the scheduled
IDF representatives conducted meetings with
representatives of the Bethlehem Municipality, the Palestinian Security Forces,
international organizations as well as religious representatives, in order to
coordinate the preparations for the upcoming ceremonies. The IDF and the Israel
Police will reinforce their personnel in the crossings around Bethlehem in order
to guarantee a swift and smooth entrance of pilgrims to the city during the
Measures to be implemented during this season as of
December 20, 2012, and are to last until Sunday, January 20, 2013:
- Provision of up to 20,000 visitor permits for Christian Palestinians from
the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to visit Israel during the entire season,
without limitations on age or marital status.
- 200 permits for Christian Palestinians to travel abroad via Ben Gurion
International Airport, following security inspections.
- 300 permits for Christian Palestinians, who reside abroad, to visit the West
bank as requested by the Palestinian Authority.
- Provision of permits to conduct tours in Israel for Christian Palestinians
from the West Bank, in coordination with the Ministry of Defense and the Israel
- 500 visitor permits for Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Israel
and the West Bank in order to visit their families and participate in religious
ceremonies. (Will be provided to minors under the age of 16 and adults over the
age of 35, and depending on security clearance)