June 21st, 2010
IDF and CoGAT Announcement: Israeli Tour Guides to Enter Bethlehem in Coordination with Palestinian Authority
Earlier today, fifty Israeli tour guides arrived for a briefing at the Etzion regional brigade, as part of a seminar in preparation for the entrance of Israeli tour guides into the city of Bethlehem.
The entrance of the tour guides was approved by the GOC Central Command and the Civil Administration, in accordance with the Ministry of Tourism. Following the briefing, a bus carrying the tour guides entered Bethlehem through the Rachel crossing in order to tour the city. The tour was coordinated by the Civil Administration and the Palestinian Authority.
This is the first time since 2000 that Israeli tour guides have been given permission to enter the city of Bethlehem. This planned policy is intended to contribute to the Palestinian and Israeli economy and promote tourism. In addition, it will enable the entrance of tour groups, accompanied by tour guides from Jerusalem directly to Bethlehem, without the need to switch guides.
This step is part of broader measures designed to help the Palestinian population. This program was authorized by the GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen Avi Mizrahi, and after the Civil Administration, the Ministry of Tourism and the Palestinian Authority completed the necessary preparation work.
The IDF Central Command, CoGAT, the Civil Administration and the Ministry of Tourism will continue to develop programs to promote the economy and tourism in the area in accordance with security assessments.