Allenby crossing
Allenby crossingFlash 90

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), headed by Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rokun, prepares every year for the passage of thousands of Arabs from all over Judea and Samaria to Mecca, Saudi Arabia via the Allenby Bridge.

In a post to the Arabic COGAT Facebook page, Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun wrote to the Palestinian Authority residents: "We are prepared for a quick and easy passage for all the pilgrims from Judea and Samaria who are observing the holiday. I wish you and the Muslim world a pleasant and happy journey, and a blessed holiday."

Approximately 5,200 PA residents are expected to cross the Allenby Bridge this week to make the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is known as the Hajj. The pilgrimage is being coordinated with the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and the Airports Authority. 88 buses were organized to bring the pilgrims across on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

In addition, a special area was established in the city of Jericho, called "State of Al-Khawaja", to arrange and register residents in advance for the Allenby Bridge buses. From the Allenby Bridge the pilgrims continue on buses through Jordan to Mecca.

Ismael Hazaza, a resident of Yatta, Hevron, said in an interview with the Facebook page of the Arabic COGAT: "Today we enter Jordan, from there we got to Saudi Arabia. First of all we will reach the state, where we will be 3 days, and from there we will continue to Mecca. The preparations were easy and good."

Abd al-Majid of Salameh from Bethlehem, who is embarking on the Hajj with his wife and daughter, also said: "This time it was the best, there was a significant improvement.

Not all who wish to embark on the Haj can do so because of the quotas imposed by Saudi Arabia. In an interview with COGAT's Arabic Facebook page, Ahmed Saria, an employee at the a-Saraya organization organizing a pilgrims' exit, explained how the organization operates: "Preparation for the holiday begins with the registration of the people who want to fulfill the commandment. Those who are fortunate enough can choose which company they wish to register with and the company is responsible for all the required documents and works in coordination with the authorities in Jordan and Saudi Arabia."

It should be noted that the price per pilgrim is expensive and can reach NIS 14,000 ($3,800), but it includes transportation, hotels and taxes for a journey lasting about two and a half weeks, until the pilgrims return on August 25th.