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Israel asks checkpoint soldiers to stop eating in front of fasting Palestinians during Ramadan

Sept. 1, 2008 3:41 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 1, 2008 3:41 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - With the Monday morning start of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, Israeli forces gave directives to soldiers manning 470 checkpoints in the west Bank to avoid eating in front of Palestinian citizens when they pass through checkpoints.

The directives also instructed soldiers to avoid smoking and drinking in front of Palestinians as a sign of respect for those who fast as a religious act.

The Israeli civil administration further decided to allow Palestinians living in Israel access to the West Bank (what they called "Palestinian Authority areas") in order to visit their families. Money will also be permitted to be transferred to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, so they can buy the appropriate foods for breaking their fast.

Israeli authorities also promised to coordinate with the Palestinian ministry of endowment about increasing number of permits given to Palestinian Muslims to enter Jerusalem so they can perform their Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Several international organizations have urged Israel to issue an additional directive during this holy month: to remove the checkpoints that humiliate, disrupt and create suffering to the daily travels of Palestinians between work, home and family.

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