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Millions of Palestinians welcome the beginning of Ramadan
Published Saturday 28/06/2014 (updated) 30/06/2014 11:38
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinians of the Muslim faith welcomed the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan on Saturday evening, as millions prepared for 30 days of fasting beginning Sunday morning.

Cities and villages across historic Palestine festooned homes and roads with bright lights and lanterns, with the Jerusalem District Electricity Company saying that despite Israeli threats of a West Bank blackout, the provider would do its utmost to keep the lights on.

On Friday, Islamic religious authorities in Saudi Arabia and many other parts of the world declared that the first day of the Ramadan fast would begin Sunday after they were unable to see the crescent moon with the naked eye.

According to tradition, it is the sighting of the new moon that signals the start of Ramadan, as the Islamic calendar is based on the moon as opposed to the Western Gregorian calendar that is based on the movements of the sun.

Most of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world will begin the fast on Sunday, except for most believers in Yemen, Nigeria, Russia, Turkey, Lebanon, and parts of North America and Europe, who will begin Saturday according to the pronouncements of local Islamic authorities.

Many Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having sex from dawn until sunset throughout the holy month.

Ramadan is considered sacred by many Muslims because it is tradition says that the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed during this month, and the fast is widely observed.

'An atmosphere full of love'

In Palestine, where Muslims comprise more than 90 percent of the population, the consumption of electricity is expected to surge throughout the month as many sleep longer during the day and stay up throughout the night following the nightly fast-breaking Iftar meal.

The Jerusalem District Electricity Company has pledged to keep the lights on throughout the month, despite an ongoing dispute over past debts with Israeli authorities that has led to threats to cut the power across the West Bank.

The general manager of the company Youssef al-Dajani told Ma'an that the company was cooperating with relevant parties to prevent Israeli companies from cutting power, but that the crisis might force the company to act against a large number of individuals who receive electricity without paying the relevant fees.

Noting that the company is still in "the midst of its debts battle with the Israeli power company," al-Dajani called upon people to be rational in their consumption of electricity and to properly use appliances whether at their homes or workplaces, especially during this hot summer and Ramadan.

The company is responsible for providing power to Jerusalem, Ramallah, al-Bireh, Bethlehem, and Jericho, and al-Dajani stressed the company's commitment to "keeping the street lights of Jerusalem and the other cities lit for the fifth year in a row to maintain the atmosphere that people are used to feeling during Ramadan."

The technicians of the electricity company have decorated the neighborhoods of the Old City of Jerusalem, Salah al-Din and al-Zahraa streets, and the main streets of other cities to which the company provides power.

They have also installed a large umbrella near the Bethlehem military checkpoint for worshippers and people who are fasting and are forced to wait at the checkpoint under the hot summer sun during Ramadan.

Al-Dajani said that company wants to ensure that residents will be able to practice the rituals of the holy month in an atmosphere full of love.

Since the 1967 occupation, Israel has restricted the ability of the Jerusalem company to import machines to generate electricity, forcing it into becoming a redistribution company for Israeli electricity.

At the same time, Israel has insisted on providing electricity to Jewish settlers who have moved into East Jerusalem, while many Palestinian neighborhoods serviced by the company fall beyond Israel's separation wall, making payment collection increasingly difficult.

In the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority began taking over the electricity company's debts, but Israeli control over the occupied Palestinian economy has led to recurring financial crises.

1 ) Mel / USA
28/06/2014 20:44
From an American Christian,to all brave,occupied,blockaded,diaspora'd Palestinians! I wish you a"million(golden)suns" & a million blessed silver moons!

2 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
28/06/2014 22:08
Ramadan Kareen Palestine! I pray one day you will have Ramadan in a free and peaceful Palestine! Shalom to all.

3 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
28/06/2014 22:30
Want a nice Ramadan? Release the three Israeli abducted teenagers and tell Hamas to attend peace talks.

4 ) Rabiah / Gaza, Ps
29/06/2014 00:02
Ramadan Mubarak from Gaza to the world, may Allah swt open the Gates of His Mercy for us this blessed month & make our path easy. @4 - Brian why not go to Gaza, Ramallah or even Egypt in Ramadan & see goodness in action, it may even rub off on you. Peace abounds in Ramadan & afterwards. BTW wasn't it Israel who wouldn't talk to Hamas, although in the spirit of Ramadan, Hamas might be prepared to speak to Israel. May Allah light our way & may we walk in the footsteps of the exalted ones always.

5 ) @ Sarah-3 / USA
29/06/2014 02:03
- Approximately 98% percent of Palestinians live in the Areas A/B & Gaza, and they are already celebrating "Ramadan in a free Palestine", but - the "peaceful" part of your prayer is prevented by the Islamic militants and it probably always will be so !!

6 ) Elfalasteen / Indonesia
29/06/2014 05:45
Ramadan Kareem to all #Palestinians.. may Allah gives you peace and happiness, always.. aamiin

7 ) Randi / USA
29/06/2014 09:30
hey Mel?...a simple Ramadan Mubarak. now ya know. it just looks better.

8 ) Randi / USA
29/06/2014 09:32
Brian? to be them is to free 3 Jews. first understand they are oppressed. second do your part to stop the abuse and third? invite others t do same.

9 ) zara / uk
29/06/2014 13:57
Ramadan Mubarak brothers and sisters from Gaza I wish I could do something to protect the innocent but remember Allah is watching, Allah is hearing, Allah is all knowing may Allah protect the innocent lives of the Muslim's the government in the world why is no one not stopping this they have power and control of people this upsets me and makes me angry the media should start showing the true images.

10 ) Mel / USA
29/06/2014 16:26
#7:Randi/USA:'simple'? No,after what Zionist-Israel has done to Palestine since 1940's,nothing is 'simple'. And keeping it 'simple'=just ending the occupation of every sun &moon of Ramadan(not to mention our Christmas)since the Nakba! THAT'S simple!

11 ) Lorette / Canada
29/06/2014 20:49
Perhaps after 66 years as refugees, some of the 1.6 billion Muslims around the world will offer these Arabs full citizenship in any of their fifty seven predominately Islamic countries.

12 ) @ Zara-9 / USA-11
29/06/2014 20:53
Allah gave the "brothers and sisters from Gaza" the Palestinian Unity Government, and they need to "protect the innocent ", by disarming the Islamic militants, that are again provoking a legitimate Israel self-defense response, that will likely injure many civilians that the Islamic militants use as human-shields.

13 ) ian / australia
01/07/2014 02:26
#3 "Want a nice Ramadan? Release the three Israeli abducted teenagers and tell Hamas to attend peace talks." Are you the Ramadan Grinch, Brian? I think we know by now the "boys" aren't coming home any more than the seven killed in the current epic tantrum are coming back or probably the two "main suspects" for that matter. Also, why should Hamas "attend peace talks"? They're no longer in power and the Israeli offer (of nothing) is unlikely to change. Blessed Ramadan.
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