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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Israel and Palestinians: Tourism and peace

This announcement is a sign that at least breezes of peace are blowing, if not winds. Come and visit - it is always interesting here.
Israel Ministry  Of Tourism 16 October 2007

Israel Minister Of Tourism Aharonovitch And Palestinian Minister Of Tourism And Antiquities Daibes Call On Tourists And Pilgrims From The World Over To Visit Israel And The Palestinian Authority.

After a protracted period during which joint activities between the ministries did not take place, the two ministers met for the first time in order to discuss ways to advance joint tourist endeavors between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In the course of the meeting the two sides concurred that the advancement of tourism to this region is of mutual interest and the joint activities should be expanded between the ministries to include periodic meetings between the ministers. It was decided to renew the activities of the Joint Committee on Tourism, which ceased with the entrance of Hamas to the Palestinian Authority governing body.

Minister Aharonovitch stressed that peace and the security of tourists and citizens are to be foremost priorities in steps undertaken to encourage and develop tourism to this area.

Minister Aharonovitch noted that he will continue to assist Palestinian tourism service providers to advance their commercial activity. The Ministry recently arranged for the issue of Israel entrance permits to 35 Palestinian tourism businessmen and has authorized 42 Palestinian tour guides to guide within Israel. The Israel Minister of Tourism informed Minister Daibes that he is extending the validity of the permits which would otherwise expire at the end of November 2007.

The Israel Ministry of Tourism, which views with utmost importance the efficient operation of the crossing between Israel and the territories of the Palestinian Authority, has established an office at the Bethlehem gateway, which deals with the passage of Palestinian and East Jerusalem tourism service providers and tour groups and tourists. Shortly, the Israel Minister of Tourism will conduct a tour of the Bethlehem crossing/checkpoint to assess the possibility of operating a special lane designated for the passage of tourists only.

Within the next several weeks the joint committee will renew its activities to advance various tourism subjects.

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