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WATCH: Palestinians cross Israeli checkpoint into Jerusalem on Ramadan

Despite Israel revoking tens of thousands of entry permits, some Palestinian worshippers were able to travel from the West Bank to Jerusalem to mark the first Friday of Ramadan.

Photos by Ahmad al-Bazz, Oren Ziv / Activestills.org
Text by Oren Ziv

Thousands of Palestinians crossed through Qalandiya Checkpoint in the West Bank to Jerusalem on Friday, to participate in the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, the holy Muslim month of fasting, at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Palestinian women cross Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian women cross Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Buses from across the West Bank brought worshippers to the checkpoint, which they then crossed on foot. On the other side of checkpoint were buses that took them to Jerusalem’s Old City.

An Israeli Border Policemen directs Palestinian woman through Qalandiya checkpoint as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

An Israeli Border Policemen directs Palestinian woman through Qalandiya checkpoint as they head to Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

On Thursday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a series of retributive actions following the shooting attack by two young Palestinians in central Tel Aviv on Wednesday, which left four Israelis dead. Netanyahu’s ordered the revoking of 80,000 entry permits that had been previously issued to West Bank Palestinians over Ramadan. On Friday Israeli authorities restricted entry to Jerusalem to Palestinian men over 45, while all Palestinian women were allowed to cross.

The number of Palestinians who arrived at the checkpoint was relatively small, as most of the Palestinian public is still unsure of the criteria for entering Jerusalem. In previous years the second, third, and fourth Fridays of Ramadan brought with them large amounts of worshippers from across the West Bank, often leading to long waiting times at the checkpoint.

A Palestinian man speaks with an Israeli Border Policeman as he attempts to cross through Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian man speaks with an Israeli Border Policeman as he attempts to cross through Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

On Friday morning Hebrew-language news websites ran headlines declaring the IDF had put the West Bank under full closure due to the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, as well as in response to the shooting attack. However, those who read the articles in full discovered that the closure did not apply to those who came to pray at Al-Aqsa. Furthermore, the 80,000 cancelled permits did not apply to Palestinians who travel to Jerusalem on the weekends for purposes of worship.

A Palestinian man crosses Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A Palestinian man crosses Qalandiya checkpoint, a main crossing point between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah, as they head to Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque for the first Friday prayer of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, June 10, 2016. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

As opposed to previous years in which Palestinian youth found ways to climb over the separation wall and reach Jerusalem, on Friday morning large police forces were stationed on the Jerusalem side of the wall in order to prevent them from doing so.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Carmen

      What, only women allowed?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Mark

      What? No rioting?

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Amjad Iraqi explains this typically Israeli condescension:

        “Many Israelis refuse to question these methods not only because they believe that the state knows what is best for their security, but because it fits with their view of Palestinians as a hostile population that deliberately breeds anti-Israeli hatred and violence. For them the issue is not with the occupation or a few belligerents, but with Palestinian society, politics, and culture as a whole, making collective punishment the most rational approach to tackling the “real” cause of the problem. Under this view, the family from Nablus isn’t angry because their rights and hopes were taken away from them; they’re angry because that is how they were raised to be. The international community doesn’t buy these arguments….”
        http://972mag.com/why-israel-cant-kick-its-addiction-to-collective-punishment/119969/

        Reply to Comment
    3. Freedom of worship is an individual right but this must come with responsibility to protect the genuine.

      Reply to Comment