A Ramadan Journey through the Checkpoint in Photos

Each Friday during Ramadan, tens of thousands of Palestinians make the arduous journey from the West Bank to Jerusalem through checkpoints to pray at al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.  Our summer team of Ecumenical Accompaniers (EAs) monitors the checkpoints every Friday to ensure that all who desire are able to go to Jerusalem to pray and report on any human rights abuses that occur during crossing.  Although the first few Fridays at the Bethlehem Checkpoint 300 were well organized, EA C. Naess notes the underlying humanitarian injustice in needing to cross a checkpoint at all.

“We want to make sure it opens when it is supposed to open, and that everyone with permits are allowed through,” she described. “This first Friday was very good on that. Very well organized, no big problems at the checkpoint. I was monitoring for eight hours, and everyone seemed happy to be able to reach Al Aqsa mosque in time for the prayer. But as my colleague said, it doesn’t really make sense to be impressed by the organizing of a checkpoint. It would be more impressive if the whole wall was removed and the need for a checkpoint would disappear.”

 

Crossing Bethlehem Checkpoint 300 on the First Friday of Ramadan. Photos c/o B. Myszkowski

2 thoughts on “A Ramadan Journey through the Checkpoint in Photos

  1. What about those who had no permits? Was everyone alloowed to worship, or just those over or under a certain age?

    • According to official rules from COGAT (Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, Ministry of Defense, State of Israel), on Fridays, women of all ages are allowed to cross without permits. Men over the age of 40 were allowed to cross without permits, ages 35-40 could pass only with permits. During the weekdays, 20,000 permits were issued to men and women over the age of 35. Unfortunately, not all are allowed the right to worship in Jerusalem. Men under the age of 35 are not allowed. Our observers reported that they did not receive complaints of not being allowed to cross from those with permits, however, it’s difficult to say whether these are always implemented, especially when no observers are present. EAPPI is not present at every checkpoint on Fridays during Ramadan. Even if allowed into Jerusalem, checkpoints and policemen stationed around and in the Old City of Jerusalem make it more difficult to get to Al-Aqsa mosque.

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