In a move no doubt aimed at bolstering its oft repeated (and contested) claim of being "the most moral army in the world," the Israel Defense Forces has announced special orders to its troops in the West Bank to consume food and drink inconspicuously during the month-long holiday period of Ramadan, when observant Muslims fast from dawn to dusk. In addition, road blocks and checkpoints in the occupied territories will work longer hours to accommodate for the increased number of people traveling to attend family gatherings during the holiday, which starts Saturday.
Perhaps the most unusual guideline, and the one most indicative of how deep-rooted the culture of conflict is in the region, calls for Israeli soldiers to remain mindful of the possibility that Palestinian children that may be carrying "weapon-shaped toys and firecrackers."
The soldiers were instructed to act respectfully towards the residents and refrain as much as possible from eating, drinking and smoking in public in front of the Palestinian population, particularly at crossings, during the fasting hours.
According to the IDF, the ease of restrictions is part of a policy aimed at improving the fabric of life of West Bank’s population. During the month of Ramadan, the activity hours of crossings leading to the cities of Jenin and Ramallah will be extended until midnight every day. The rest of the checkpoints will operate as usual, for 24 hours a day.