IDF imposes West Bank, Gaza closure during Rosh Hashanah amid terror alerts

Security officials to hold separate assessment on potentially shuttering crossings for Palestinians during Yom Kippur and Sukkot as well

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent

File: Israeli soldiers guard the Rantis Checkpoint, in the West Bank, April 23, 2023. (Jonathan Shaul/Flash90)
File: Israeli soldiers guard the Rantis Checkpoint, in the West Bank, April 23, 2023. (Jonathan Shaul/Flash90)

The Israeli army announced Thursday that it was imposing a closure on border crossings between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the upcoming Rosh Hashanah holiday this weekend.

The closure was set to begin on Friday at 12:01 a.m. and last until Sunday, September 17, at 11:59 p.m.

The Israel Defense Forces said the border crossings for Palestinians would reopen at the end of the holiday “subject to a situational assessment.”

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

A separate assessment was to be held regarding potential closures on Yom Kippur and Sukkot later this month, the IDF added.

Such closures are standard practice during festivals and holidays, in what the military says is a preventative measure against attacks at those times, which are seen as periods of increased tension.

The closures affect more than 100,000 West Bank Palestinians and 17,000 Gazans who have permits to enter Israel for work.

Violence has surged across the West Bank over the past year and a half, with a rise in Palestinian shooting attacks against Israeli civilians and troops, near-nightly arrest raids by the military, and an uptick in revenge attacks by extremist Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

Channel 12 news reported last week that security officials have received on average 200 warnings or intelligence tips about possible terror attacks each day in the leadup to the Jewish holiday season.

Police meanwhile are stepping up efforts to keep Israelis and tourists safe over the upcoming Jewish holidays, including the unprecedented move of ensuring there is someone armed in every synagogue in Jerusalem, a top police official said Wednesday.

Palestinian attacks in Israel and the West Bank since the beginning of the year have left 27 civilians and three soldiers dead, and several others seriously wounded.

According to a tally by The Times of Israel, 181 West Bank and East Jerusalem Palestinians have been killed during the same period — the majority during clashes with security forces or while carrying out attacks, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under unclear circumstances, including by armed Israeli settlers.

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