IDF to close off West Bank, Gaza for Memorial and Independence Days
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IDF to close off West Bank, Gaza for Memorial and Independence Days

As with most holidays, Israel to shut down crossings to Palestinians from Tuesday to Friday; exceptions may be made for humanitarian reasons, army says

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative: Border Police officers guard the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem on March 27, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Border Police officers guard the Qalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem on March 27, 2018. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The Israeli army on Monday announced it would impose a three-day closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip for Memorial Day and Independence Day this week, as is standard practice during festivals and holidays.

The closure will begin overnight Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. and last until 12:01 a.m. Friday, the military said.

Gaza’s Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings have been closed since Saturday in response to rocket and mortar attacks by terror groups during one of the largest flareups in the Strip since the 2014 Gaza war. These terminals remained closed through Monday.

Exceptions will be made for “medical, humanitarian and other outstanding cases,” but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Israel’s Memorial Day begins Tuesday evening at nightfall and lasts through the following day. After sundown, the Jewish state shifts into celebrations for Independence Day, which begins Wednesday night and continues into Thursday.

The closure will affect the tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel every day, most of them in construction and maintenance.

Israeli citizens will still be permitted to move between the West Bank and Israel.

Closures for Jewish and Israeli holidays are a routine procedure, intended both to prevent terror attack attempts in Israel during the holiday period and to allow Israeli security officials, who operate the crossings, to celebrate the festival.

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