Israel imposes new restrictions on Palestinians entering Jerusalem
Israeli soldiers stand at the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and and West Bank city of Ramallah. (AFP/Abbas Momani)
Israeli authorities set new restrictions Tuesday on Palestinians allowed to enter Jerusalem during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan after alleged attacks targeting Israeli military and settlers.
The new restrictions now require a permit for women aged between 16 and 30 to enter Jerusalem on Fridays. The same applies for men aged 30-50, while those under the age of 12 and over 50 can enter without a permit.
Israel announced at the beginning of Ramadan that women of all ages and men over 40 from the West Bank would be allowed to pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem for the duration of the holy month.
While Israel initially eased travel restrictions for Palestinians this year, authorities said such increases in movement came on the condition that security wasn't "breached."
Ramadan often offers a rare opportunity for Palestinians to visit East Jerusalem, part of Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, as entry to the city remains strictly limited during rest of the year.
For residents of the Gaza Strip, the freedom of movement is restricted further. Although Israel announced that 800 people from the blockaded enclave could attend the prayers at Al-Aqsa compound during Ramadan, the entry of 500 people was revoked after a rocket fired from Gaza on June 24 landed in an open area in Askelon in the western Negev.
The revocation of Gazan travel permits came while several others were detained or barred from the compound by Israeli forces and permission for 500 West Bank Palestinians to fly via Israel's Ben Gurion airport was cancelled.
Tuesday's new restrictions were instated after Israeli military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank have witnessed increasing violent incidents in recent days.
Yesterday, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man at the Qalandiya checkpoint in Ramallah after allegedly charging an Israeli soldier, and on Monday a soldier was lightly injured after a Palestinian stabbed her at a military checkpoint in Bethlehem.
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