Peace campaigners in Israel are protesting about a new government policy which has banned West Bank Palestinians from bathing in the Dead Sea. In a letter to the Defence Minister, Gush Shalom says that under a new policy, army roadblocks in the North Dead Sea region completely deny West Bank Palestinians from having access to the Dead Sea shore. Many Palestinian families and groups of school children, on their way to bath in the sea, have been turned back by the soldiers. In the arrid country where summer temperatures can reach 40C - the Dead Sea was the last stretch of water open for bathing to West Bank inhabitants. Access to the Mediterranean had been denied for decades. The North Dead Sea region is an inseparable part of the West Bank, occupied in 1967. In the Olso Agreements the State of Israel took the specific obligation to let Palestinians have access to the Dead Sea. Campaigners believe the prohibition on Palestinian entry to the North Dead Sea region might be connected with the recent campaign conducted by illegal Israeli settlers, organized in the 'Megilot Regional Council', to attract new settlers to the area. Source: Gush Shalom
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