West Bank, Gaza Palestinians to be banned from entering Israel during Purim

Closure of crossings is standard practice during Israeli festivals and holidays, which are seen as periods of increased tensions

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

The Israeli Jalameh checkpoint in the northern West Bank, on April 8, 2022. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/File)
The Israeli Jalameh checkpoint in the northern West Bank, on April 8, 2022. (Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP/File)

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday announced the closure of crossings with the West Bank and Gaza Strip during the upcoming Purim holiday.

The closure was set to begin on Monday, March 6, at 5 p.m. and last until Wednesday, March 8, at 11:59 p.m.

The IDF said the border crossings for Palestinians were to reopen on Thursday “subject to a situational assessment.”

Exceptions to the closures will be made for humanitarian and other outstanding cases, but will require the approval of the Defense Ministry’s liaison to the Palestinians, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

Such closures are standard practice during festivals and holidays. The military says they are a preventative measure against attacks in periods of increased tension. But during the holiday of Purim last year, the military skipped the usual closure for the first time in five years.

Since then, tensions have spiked, as Israeli forces have ratcheted up arrest raids and other counterterror efforts in the West Bank following a series of terror attacks.

A string of Palestinian attacks in Jerusalem and the West Bank in recent months left 14 Israelis dead and several more seriously hurt.

At least 64 Palestinians have been killed since the beginning of the year, most of them while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces, but some were uninvolved civilians and others were killed under circumstances that are being investigated.

There has also been a rise in settler violence toward Palestinians in recent months.

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