Celebrating Ramadan in the West Bank
The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem (Photo: MFA)
In order to accommodate West Bank Palestinians observing Ramadan, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Civil Administration have initiated a series of measures designed to facilitate both the observance and celebration of Ramadan.
(Communicated by COGAT - Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories)
Ramadan is the most holy month of the Islamic calendar. According to the Muslim tradition, the Quran was revealed tthe Prophet Mohammad during the month of Ramadan, and it is celebrated as a period for Muslims throughout the world to focus on worship and spirituality. Observance of the holiday includes fasting from sunrise to sunset, routine prayers with a special emphasis on Friday morning prayers, and celebration with the extended family.
In order to accommodate West Bank Palestinians observing Ramadan, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) and the Civil Administration have initiated a series of measures designed to facilitate both the observance and celebration of Ramadan. Last year, in light of the relative security stability in the West Bank, wide-ranging Ramadan measures were approved by COGAT and the IDF. This year, despite continued terror attempts, the security assessment has allowed for the approval of even more extensive Ramadan measures (below).
Ramadan is expected to fall between July 10th and August 9th this year. Laylat al-Qadr, the holiday marking the first revelation of the Prophet Mohammad is on the 27th day of Ramadan, estimated to fall on the 5th of August. Eid-el-Fitr, the three day holiday concluding the month of Ramadan is estimated to run between the 9th and 12th of August. All Gregorian dates are subject to change based on the sighting of the new moon.
COGAT and the Civil Administration wishes everyone a safe, happy, and fulfilling Ramadan.
Regulations for Entry into Israel
1. No permit required for all Palestinians over 60 during the entire month of Ramadan.
- Both men and women.
- This access is conditional on individual security restrictions.
2. Extended Family Visitations:
- In addition to first degree family visit permits, second degree family visit permits will also be issued.
- These permits are valid from 8am to 10 pm, between July 9 and August 12.
- Permits are not required for minors under 16 accompanying their parents.
- The permits are not valid on Fridays and Saturdays, or the related holidays.
3. Friday Prayers and Laylat al-Qadr:
- All ages
- No permit required
- Over 40: npermit required
- Ages 35-40: Entry with individual permit
- No permit required
- Must be accompanied by a guardian
- Previous permit holders:
- Permits previously issued for purposes unrelated to Ramadan remain valid.
- These permits remain subject to original conditions and restrictions.
- 20,000 permits
- Male and female applicants
- Over the age of 35
Entry and Exit from Israel
1. Visitor visas for Eid al-Fitr:
- 500 visitor visas for the West Bank via Allenby Bridge for pilgrims/tourists from non-friendly states.
- Terms and Conditions:
- These visitor visas have no age restrictions or kinship requirements.
- Approval subject to security check and valid permit.
- In the event that the holiday falls on Friday-Saturday, the visas will be valid for Sunday and Monday only.
2. BMC Cards:
- Additional 398 BMC Cards issued.
BMC Cards allow for recognized businessmen and traders to undergo an expedited security check at crossings into Israel and through the Allenby Bridge crossing.
3. Ben Gurion Airport:
- 200 exit permits via Ben Gurion Airport
- Exit permits subject to ISA approvals.
Crossings into Israel: Operation and Regulations
- Public transportation at Ephraim Crossing will operate in accordance with fasting hours.
- Agricultural gates will be opened in accordance with fasting hours.
- Food products in non-commercial quantities may be transferred through Reihan Crossing to Barta'a and the seam zone.
2. Pedestrian Crossings:
- Entry hours to Israel extended until 10 pm (22:00) for family visits.
- Return hours extended to 12 am (24:00).
3. Goods Crossings:
- Tarkumiya Crossing:
For the first three weeks of Ramadan the crossing will be open until 4:30 pm (16:30).
The final week of Ramadan crossing hours will extend until 7 pm (19:00).
- Meitar Crossing:
It will be possible to ship sheep and cattle directly (door-to-door) through the crossing. This applies to the two-week period prior to Eid al-Fitr.
4. Additional Crossings:
- Hashmonaim Crossing: operating hours will be expanded, 4 am - 12 am (04:00-24:00).
- DCO/Beit El Crossing:
The crossing is open to all permit holders during the month of Ramadan and during the holidays.
The crossing will operate 24 hours a day.