BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli military announced Thursday it would ease restrictions on Palestinians during the upcoming Ramadan holy month, upon approval from Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
A statement said Palestinians over the age of 40 will be allowed to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque area on Fridays and on Laylat al-Qadr, while men and women between 35-40 will require a special permit.
Palestinians will be allowed to visit relatives of first and second degree inside Israel including children under 16, while up to 200 people will be allowed to travel abroad via Israel's international airport.
The statement said Israeli authorities would deploy additional personel at the Allenby bridge to facilitate Palestinians traveling for the holiday, while a medical team would be on hand due to the high temperatures.
According to the statement, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, met with representatives of the Palestinian Authority and updated them on the plans for Ramadan.
"IDF soldiers have been given orders to show special consideration toward the Palestinian residents of the Judea and Samaria region and, wherever possible, to refrain from eating, drinking and smoking in public, more so at the various crossings so as to demonstrate a high level of respect and understanding."