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Middle East’s Mixed Daylight Saving Times in 2008

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Published 29-Aug-2008. Changed 1-Oct-2008

The end date for daylight saving time has stirred mixed feelings in the Middle East, particularly between some territories. In the case of the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the focus on the time differences between the two territories lies within two factors: political conflicts and the observance of the month of Ramadan in the Islamic calendar in 2008. Much media attention was recently raised regarding the different daylight saving end dates between these two territories.

Mideast different Times

The Mediterranean Sea is close to the Gaza Strip, which ended its daylight saving time a few days earlier than the West Bank.

©iStockphoto.com/Victoria Solodar

Gaza Strip and West Bank

The Gaza Strip’s daylight saving schedule ended at midnight between August 28 and August 29 when the clocks turned back by one hour, while the West Bank planned to wait until midnight between August 31 and September 1 to change its schedule in 2008. Both territories observe Eastern European Time (EET), which is two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (or UTC+2), when they are not on daylight saving time. During the daylight saving schedule, they both observe Eastern European Summer Time (EEST) (UTC+3).

According to the Associated Press (in the guardian.co.uk), the Palestinians traditionally changed their clocks at different times from Israel in a gesture of independence. Now for the first time, they are directing the gesture at each other, reflecting the rival claims for power in the split between the Palestinian territories.

Ramadan Observance

The Gaza Strip’s daylight saving end date coincides with Egypt’s schedule due to Ramadan, which is the holy month of fasting for Muslims. Ramadan, also known as Ramadhan or Ramzan, is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It is a period of prayer, fasting, charity giving, and self-accountability. Egypt reverted to EET at midnight between August 28 and August 29 when it ended its daylight saving schedule in 2008.

Other Middle Eastern and Neighboring Countries

Iraq and Saudi Arabia do not observe daylight saving time in 2008. In Iraq, 2008 marks the first time in many years that Iraq did not observe the summer time schedule. For some citizens, the cancellation is associated with political changes. For others, it is believed that the decision was a matter of science. Iran ends its daylight saving schedule at midnight between September 20 and September 21 in 2008, when the clock goes back by one hour to Iran Standard Time, or IRST (which is UTC+3:30).

Meanwhile, Jordan’s daylight saving schedule ends at midnight between October 30 and October 31 and Lebanon will end its daylight saving schedule at midnight between October 25 and October 26 in 2008. Syria originally planned to the clock back at midnight between September 30 and October 1 but the government recently announced that daylight saving would end at midnight between October 31 and November 1. When Syria turns the clocks back by one hour, it will be on to EET, which is observed by Jordan and Lebanon when they are not on daylight saving time.

In Africa, Morocco and parts of the Western Sahara that are controlled by Morocco also planned to end daylight saving time earlier than expected, reverting the clock one hour back at midnight to its official standard time (UTC+0) between August 31 and September 1 in 2008.

In Turkey, located in Eurasia, daylight saving time ends on the last weekend of October in 2008 when the clocks turn back from 04:00 (or 4am) to 03:00 (or 3am) on October 26, 2008. The country is on EET when it is not on daylight saving time.

Gaza Strip and West Bank Background

The Gaza Strip is a coastal strip of land along the Mediterranean Sea, bordering Egypt on the south-west and Israel on the north and east. The territory takes its name from Gaza, its main city. It has about 1.4 million Palestinian (or Gazan) residents.

The West Bank is a landlocked territory on the west bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East. To the west, north, and south the West Bank shares borders with the mainland Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the country of Jordan. Since 1967 most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation. The Palestinian Authority (PA) was established in the Gaza Strip and West Bank in 1994, although its authority is limited, especially in Gaza.

Note: timeanddate.com provides information based on research from primary sources, such as government authorities and embassies. However, we would be happy to hear from readers who have heard of immediate changes or updates on any of the times and dates mentioned in this article.

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