Palestinians cross Israeli checkpoints for Ramadan Aqsa prayers
Occupied West Bank – Ramadan represents a rare opportunity for the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the Israeli-occupied West Bank to visit and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.
While Palestinian Jerusalemites and those with Israeli passports can access Al-Aqsa at any time, those in the occupied West Bank are only allowed to enter the city with a difficult-to-obtain military permit outside of Ramadan.
During the Muslim holy month, Israel allows some West Bank Palestinians to enter the city to pray at the mosque, which lies in the Old City.
While women of all ages are allowed to enter without a military permit on Fridays this Ramadan, only men over 50 or boys under 12 years old are given a similar privilege.
Men and boys who do not fit those criteria have to apply for a military permit with no guarantee of obtaining one, or find other ways to enter.
A total of 60,000 Palestinians holding West Bank IDs were allowed to enter the city on the first and second Fridays of Ramadan, according to Israeli officials.
Palestinians must wait long hours in overcrowded checkpoints to reach the city.