Israel imposes ‘general closure’ on Palestinian territory for Jewish holiday

erez grensovergang

Palestinians walk through the Erez border crossing with Israel in the northern Gaza Strip as they cross into Gaza, on June 09, 2010

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities announced Saturday evening that a general closure will be imposed on all passage between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israel, as well as between the occupied West Bank and Israel, over the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.According to a statement from Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, the closures began one minute after midnight on Sunday Oct. 2, and are to last until one minute before midnight on Tuesday Oct. 4.During the closure, only humanitarian, medical, and exceptional cases will be allowed to cross, pending the approval from COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in Palestinian territory, al-Samri added.The closures come after Israeli authorities also canceled Friday’s weekly visit for Gazan worshipers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem due to the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres being held that day in Jerusalem.

Visitations of elderly Palestinians from Gaza were implemented as part of a ceasefire agreement that ended Israel’s 2014 offensive on the besieged enclave. However, due to Israeli security concerns and Jewish holidays, visits have been frequently interrupted since their introduction.
 
The majority of the more than 1.8 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to a near-decade long military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.
 
Meanwhile, debilitating poverty and lack of employment drives many workers in the occupied West Bank to enter Israel in search of work. Israel’s imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities.The number of Palestinians employed, both documented and undocumented, in Israel and its illegal settlements for the second quarter of 2016 was 114,200, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
The average unemployment rate for the Palestinian territory was 26.9 percent for this same period: 18.3 percent in the West Bank and a staggering 41.7 percent in Gaza. The poor state of the Palestinian territory’s economy has been attributed to the decades-long Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the nearly nine year Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip which has continued to undermine anyeconomic developments.
(Source / 02.10.2016)

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Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police




The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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