Israel to close West Bank, Gaza crossings for Memorial Day, Independence Day

As it does for every holiday, military announces closure for Palestinians, beginning Tuesday night and continuing through Thursday; exceptions to be made for humanitarian cases

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

Illustrative: IDF soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers at a checkpoint in the West Bank. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The Israel Defense Forces announced on Sunday that it would close all crossings into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip for two days beginning Tuesday night for the country’s Memorial and Independence days.

The closure — a standard practice for religious and national holidays — was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday and last until 12:01 a.m. Friday, pending a “situational assessment,” the military said.

The IDF said exceptions would be made for “humanitarian, medical and special cases” with approval from the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Memorial Day formally begins at 8 p.m. on Tuesday night with a siren sounded across the nation. Commemorations continue throughout the next day — another siren is sounded at 11 a.m. — until Israelis make the dramatic shift from mourning to jubilation on Wednesday night as the country launches its Independence Day celebrations.

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.

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