Politics also adds a twist. The Palestinian extremist group Hamas was ending daylight saving time at 11:59 last night in the Gaza Strip, which it controls, while the West Bank, run by the rival Fatah faction, is waiting until midnight Sunday.
The Palestinians have 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 year-old split between the Palestinian territories.
"Hamas just wants to show they're different from the Palestinian government, to pretend that they are the real government here," said Jamal Zakout, a spokesman for the prime minister of the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. He said the authority chose midnight Sunday because Ramadan is expected to begin Monday.
Egypt was also moving its clocks back one hour at 11:59 last night, a full month earlier than usual. The switch puts Egypt two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time and at least an hour later than its Mideast neighbors.
The creeping up of the clock change reflects the complications of the lunar Islamic calendar.
Ramadan arrives about 11 days earlier each year. Currently, that brings it more into the long, hot days of summer, making it particularly tough for Muslims, who abstain from food and drink from sunrise to sunset during the holy month. Even in September, temperatures in Egypt are in the upper 90s.
Egypt's decision will enable its people to have their iftar evening meal, breaking the fast, an hour earlier.
Israel goes off daylight saving time Oct. 5, before the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. This will not reduce the length of the fast, which goes from sunset to sunset, but will reduce the number of daytime hours observant Jews must go without food or water.
Jordan and Lebanon will switch the clocks back as usual by the end of October. Syria falls back in late September. Saudi Arabia and Iraq don't change clocks.