UN Chief Urges Israel to Restore Travel Permits to Gazans

June 25, 2015  

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Israel on Wednesday to ease restrictions on travel for Palestinian Arabs during the month of Ramadan, hours after Israel announced it was revoking permits for 500 Gazans to enter Jerusalem for prayers because of the latest rocket attacks.

Ban “welcomes Israel’s measures to ease some restrictions on Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told the Security Council, according to AFP.

“He encourages Israel to sustain and expand these confidence-building measures which enable the legitimate movement of people and goods in and between Gaza and the West Bank including East-Jerusalem, and improve the quality of life of Palestinians,” Feltman added.

The cancellations of travel permits announced on Wednesday only applied to this week, Israel said, meaning it should resume next week allowing up to 800 Gazans to travel for Friday prayers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The travel permits were issued as part of unprecedented “gestures” to Palestinian Arabs announced by the Defense Ministry last week for Ramadan.

A spokeswoman for COGAT, the defense ministry unit which coordinates with Gaza, told AFP the move to cancel the concessions  was “because of the rocket” which hit southern Israel on Tuesday night.

The rocket, launched just after 10 p.m. on Tuesday, struck an open field in the Ashkelon region to the north of Gaza, fortunately causing no damages or injuries.

In response the IDF conducted airstrikes in Gaza, taking out the very rocket launcher that was responsible for the attack.

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