Army orders general closure on West Bank, Gaza over last Passover days

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

The Israeli army announces it is imposing a closure on border crossings between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the final days of Passover.

The closure will begin Thursday, starting at 5 p.m., and last until Saturday, April 23, at an hour to be determined.

Palestinian worshippers will still be allowed to enter Israel for Friday Ramadan prayers in Jerusalem, subject to existing restrictions, the military’s liaison to the Palestinians says.

The border crossings for Palestinians will reopen “subject to a situational assessment and in accordance with the usual operating hours,” the Israel Defense Forces says.

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.

A closure was imposed during the first day of Passover but was not extended over the entire holiday, and during the holiday of Purim in March, the military skipped it all together for the first time in five years.

Exceptions 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.

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