Jerusalem, August 1 – In a YouTube Ramadan holiday greeting to Muslims in Israel and beyond, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the Arab Spring and said he wished for true democracy, success and peace among his neighbors. Ramadan is a month-long holiday in which Muslims commemorate the revelation of the Qur’an to their prophet, Muhammad.
“This is one of the most important events in the Muslim calendar and I’d like to wish you all very happy holidays,” he said.
“I want to see a region of democracy and peace and I would like to wish you peace,” he added.
“We are witnessing the Arab Spring and we all want it to flourish and succeed. I know it’s true for the people of Israel, who know the taste and meaning of democracy…We want to see the Arab societies and democracies succeed and I know that if an Arab democracy will be born, there will be true peace.”
Netanyahu then called on his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas, to use the opportunity to enter peace talks and sit down and negotiate, without preconditions.
“Our two peoples are waiting and yearning for this moment. I know how hard it is. I know that there are many constraints and doubts. We can overcome them if we sit together or send our envoys. We can cross this barrier and give a future of peace not only to our peoples but also to the entire region,” said Netanyahu.
In anticipation of the Ramadan holiday which begins today, Israel implemented ease of travel and restrictions policies to enable Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank to fully enjoy the holiday.
Visitor permits for Palestinians in the West Bank were distributed and crossings will remain open through the night to enable family and religious visits. Israeli soldiers were also asked to refrain from drinking, eating and smoking in front of Muslims at crossings — a sign of respect for the fasting that Muslims perform until sundown during Ramadan.