Despite security concerns, the IDF has agreed to ease movement for local Arabs in Judea and Samaria in honor of Eid al-Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice), a major Muslim festival that began Thursday and extends for four days. The holiday is celebrated by Muslims worldwide to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to G-d. According to the Muslim tradition it was Ishmael and not Isaac who Abraham was commended to offer up.
The ease in restrictions of movement was authorized by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi. The IDF Spokesperson's Office announced that the decision was in line with the army's efforts to make normal daily life easier for local Arabs.
The IDF announcement on Thursday sharply contrasted the government’s announcement that same day to halt all Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for a ten month period.
“The ideal would be for everyone to be able to build where they want and travel where they want,” said one Jewish resident of Samaria. “That’s what life was like before the Oslo Accords were signed. There was no need for checkpoints because the Arabs weren’t controlled by Fatah gangsters and security risks were minimal. And Jewish building was encouraged throughout Judea and Samaria as it was understood by the Israeli consensus that this is our homeland. The way forward in Judea and Samaria for both Arabs and Jews is to reverse the destructive effects of the Oslo process and to apply full Israeli sovereignty to our entire country.”