Israel’s army on Sunday opened a gift box for Palestinian worshipers at the site of the Old City’s Al-Aksa Mosque, the first of its kind to open since Israel’s 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories.
The army opened the gift box on a busy intersection in the Old District, near the entrance to the holy site where Muslims are required to pray, with no public information on its contents or a price tag.
The military said the box, which included a teddy bear, was delivered to the mosque’s custodian, who handed it over to a soldier to open it.
The box, dated Sept. 28 and signed “Tanya,” was handed over to the soldier on a military jeep after the service at the mosque.
According to the army, the boxes are used for special events and will be handed out to residents who have permission from the military, and to the military personnel who deliver them.
The ministry of interior does not allow Palestinians to visit the Old Town, the only public square in the West Bank, or its archaeological sites.
The Palestinian Authority, which governs the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, has no authority over the Old Jerusalem.
Palestinians who want to visit, however, can visit the site at any time, except during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which began Sunday.
The United Nations says more than 200 Palestinians have been killed in clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians since July.
A series of deadly clashes have also taken place in the occupied East Jerusalem, including an ambush that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded a fourth.
Israeli forces have also shot and killed four Palestinians and wounded two others, and a Palestinian assailant opened fire at Israeli police officers, injuring two officers.