Israel to let in Palestinian cars for first time since 2000
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Israel to let in Palestinian cars for first time since 2000

West Bank doctors to be allowed to drive to Jerusalem hospitals; businessmen to follow, says COGAT chief

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

Israeli soldiers check Palestinian cars at the Gush Etzion Intersection in the West Bank, June 15, 2014. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Israeli soldiers check Palestinian cars at the Gush Etzion Intersection in the West Bank, June 15, 2014. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

For the first time in 15 years, the IDF will allow Palestinian vehicles to enter Israel, a spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced on Tuesday.

In an interview with Palestinian news website Ma’an, COGAT chief Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai said that permits will be issued for more than 100 doctors from the Bethlehem and Hebron areas, allowing them to enter Jerusalem with their Palestinian license plates to work at local hospitals.

This will be the first time, since 2000, that Palestinian vehicles have been allowed to enter Israel.

“This is a significant step intended to assist doctors in completing their life-saving missions,” said Brig. Gen. David Menachem, chief of the Civil Administration, an IDF branch responsible for civilian affairs in the West Bank. “The success of this step will be evaluated in accordance with an assessment of the security situation.”

Mordechai told Ma’an that a similar concession may soon be extended to Palestinian businessmen as well.

The move follows a number of Israeli measures geared at easing civilian life for Palestinians in the West Bank. Last month, COGAT announced it would allow Palestinian men aged 55 and older to enter Israel without a permit, removing certain restrictions from day laborers who want to enter the country.

According to COGAT, a total of 174,416 Palestinians currently receive permits to enter Israel, but are not allowed to bring in their own vehicles.

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