- Title: WEST BANK: Arab-Israelis flock to Jenin for Eid as border restrictions are eased
- Date: 30th November 2009
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) NASSER ELWAN FROM NAZARETH SAYING: "I am from the city of Nazareth and we came today to Jenin to spend Eid with our Palestinian brothers, who are a part of us. This park is very nice and we are positively surprised, we like to stay in touch with our people. It's a great feeling and it's hard to describe, but it's a good feeling. I have not been to Jenin for so long. maybe 10-12 years" WIDE OF RIDES AT PARK
- Embargoed: 15th December 2009 12:00
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVAB199AK32GV801VWKXIEZOGHSA
- Story Text: Arab-Israelis take advantage of the easing of restrictions on travel to the West Bank to visit the city of Jenin.
Arab-Israelis took advantage of the easing of restrictions on the movement into the West Bank, at the Jalameh crossing, to celebrate Eid al-Adha.
The crossing, near the West Bank city of Jenin, is a large scale commercial terminal, where goods are transferred to and from the West Bank, and people use it to enter the Palestinian territories.
Israel eased restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank, for four days, in honour of the Muslim holiday. The decision was made by Defence Minister Ehud Barak, according to a news release from the IDF spokesperson.
Khaled Yaseen, visiting from across the border in Israel said he and his family wishes to spend Eid in Jenin.
"I came with my kids to Jenin, to shop in Jenin and would like to spend the Eid here. We were forbidden from doing this, the Jalameh checkpoint has brought us happiness since we entered Jenin, shopping in Jenin and God willing we will spend the Eid in Jenin." he said.
The four day opening of the crossing has also been good for shop owners like Mohammed Ibrahim.
"The opening of the checkpoint improved sales dramatically, not like before, before the Intifada, the situation was bad and we were dependant on local Arabs living here. This goes for shop owners and the stand owners as well. Now with the opening of the checkpoint the marketplace is doing better." said one shop owner in Jenin.
The fair ground was also bustling with families and children enjoying the festive holiday.
For Nasser Elwan, a chance to visit Jenin was a welcomed event.
"I am from the city of Nazareth and we came today to Jenin to spend Eid with our Palestinian brothers, who are a part of us. This park is very nice and we are positively surprised, we like to stay in touch with our people. It's a great feeling and it's hard to describe, but it's a good feeling. I have not been to Jenin for so long. maybe 10-12 years" said Elwan.
A statement released by the Israeli army said that operating hours of other major West Bank checkpoints located in the vicinity of Tulkarim and Nablus would be extended to facilitate the flow of Palestinians permitted to enter Israel to visit relatives, and Israeli-Arabs seeking to visit family members in the West Bank, during the holiday.
Throughout 2009, Israel has removed - or unmanned - some major army checkpoints crippling mobility in the West Bank.
The West Bank is an archipelago of cities and land fragmented by a maze of Israeli no-go zones and three levels of administration - Israeli, shared, and Palestinian. Israel controls roads, telecommunications, energy, air space and access to land and water.
The easing of restrictions implemented on Thursday (November 26) will end on Tuesday (December 2).
Eid al-Adha marks the conclusion of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
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