Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has approved a general closure of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for the entirety of the Sukkot holiday. The reason: Last week’s terror attack in Har Adar and the short work days during the holiday. Israel’s Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan: “Inconvenience to Palestinian civilians will be minimal.”
IDF to implement general closure of the West Bank Photo credit: Nati Shohat/ Flash 90/ Channel 2 News
The West Bank region and the Gaza Strip will be completely closed off for eleven days during the Sukkot holiday, said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Minister of Public Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan and the Israel Police apparently encouraged the closure following the attack in Har Adar last week in which three Israelis were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist.
The IDF had originally warned against implementing such a long closure, but ultimately supported the closure- to begin at midnight on Tuesday and last until Saturday night- after the deadly Har Adar attack. According to the IDF, it changed its recommendations for three main reasons; first, the security establishment was intent on preventing friction between Palestinian workers and Jews during the holiday, when many Israelis travel and visit sites and nature reserves around the country. Second, the murderous attack in Har Adar left many with a shaken sense of security and finally, the work days during the holiday are short and many businesses are closed, thus the inconvenience caused to Palestinian workers would be minimal.
Israel also imposed a general closure on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during Yom Kippur; crossings into Gaza were closed off and the entry of Palestinian workers into settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley was prohibited. In case of medical or humanitarian needs, permission to enter Israel was granted by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.