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The Road to Ramadan Prayers

Thousands of Palestinians headed to Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah as they attempted to reach al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday of Ramadan. Buses from across the central West Bank filled the roads around the checkpoint which is the main route to Jerusalem for Palestinians living in the area.

According to official Israeli statements, all men over the age of 40 would be allowed passage through checkpoints to Jerusalem for Friday prayers without special permits as well as women of any age who are West Bank residents.

Despite Israel's statements, many Palestinians were still denied passage towards Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque including people who fitted within the stated demographics.

Aside from the discussion of permitted demographics, it remains essential to remember that East Jerusalem is considered occupied land under international law and Israel's annexation of the area in 1981 has not been recognised or accepted internationally. Free and unrestricted access to Jerusalem is a fundamental right for all Palestinians irrespective of gender, age, religion or political leanings.

For those who were again denied passage through Qalandiya and the many other checkpoints in occupied Palestine, reaching Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque for Ramadan prayers once again remains a right that is being denied by the Occupation, in contravention of international agreements yet with an international community that continues to fail to protect and uphold the rights of the collective Palestinian people.

Images by MEMO photographer Rich Wiles.

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