IDF Expands Number of Travel Permits for Gazans Ahead of Xmas

Israel

Photo Credit: Andrew McIntire/TPS

Erez Crossing, on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the entrance point from Gaza into Israel. Gaza, Jul 12, 2015.

The IDF is expanding the number of travel permits it is issuing to Gazans ahead of Christmas, enabling them to travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem for the holiday.

The IDF stated Sunday night that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun has “extended the travel facilitations for the Christian population of Gaza in recognition of the Christmas holiday.”

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Entry permits for Jerusalem and for the Judea and Samaria area will be issued “in accordance with security assessments and without regard to age,” the IDF stated.

COGAT, the IDF unit entrusted with implementing the government’s civilian policy within Judea and Samaria and towards the Gaza Strip, regularly facilitates various humanitarian projects in these areas.

The IDF was initially hesitant of issuing further permits due to the possible security threat. The Hamas terror organization, which rules the Strip, is notorious for exploiting Israel’s humanitarian permits for terrorism.

For instance, the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) in July exposed and thwarted a Hamas attempt to establish a bomb-making network in Judea and Samaria while utilizing Israel’s humanitarian medical permits for this purpose.

Fadi al-Sabah, a Hamas-trained bomb expert from the Gaza Strip, infiltrated Israel by taking advantage of a permit to receive medical treatment in the country. He was tasked with establishing a bomb lab that would supply suicide bombers with explosives.

The plans were exposed after a series of arrests among terrorists in Gaza.

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