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Palestinian MK condemns Israeli procedures at Friday checkpoints

Sept. 6, 2008 11:20 A.M. (Updated: Sept. 6, 2008 11:20 A.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an - Member of the Israeli Knesset for the Islamic Movement and the United Arab Bloc Ibrahim Abdullah sent a recorded message to Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter requesting the removal of restrictions for Muslims going to pray in Jerusalem.

In the message Abdullah condemned the restrictions put in place starting on Friday. The new policies ban men under 45 and women under 35 from entering Jerusalem. Even then men under 50 and women under 45 must apply for permits if they wish to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Overlong lines and hostile treatment marked the first Friday of Ramadan as Palestinians from the West Bank queued at the Rachel's Tomb (Gilo) and Qalandia checkpoints, only to be searched thoroughly or turned home. Cars were prohibited and elderly citizens had to walk long distances to public transport.

Abdullah expressed his anger at the way people were inspected and investigated at checkpoints. He cited the example of hundreds of elderly Palestinians who were forced to remove their shoes, and had all possessions searched several times.

Abdullah called for the Israeli Public Security Minister to make all efforts and provide adequate facilities to accommodate worshipers during the month of Ramadan. He further called for restraint to be shown and force to be limited as the religious perform their Ramadan duties.

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