Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel places curfew on West Bank for Jewish holiday

Checkpoints between Israel and Palestinian territory closed as security increased for Jewish holiday

October 2, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Israel’s military has imposed a curfew on the occupied West Bank for the duration of a Jewish holiday beginning Sunday evening, Israel radio reported.

A military spokesperson said checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank and Gaza have also been closed until Tuesday, except for humanitarian purposes.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Anadolu Agency extra security measures have been put in place at synagogues and public places across Israel.

He said 3,500 police officers had been deployed in Jerusalem, with an emphasis on the Old City but there were “absolutely not” any plans to place any restrictions on the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque complex.

During last year’s Rosh Hashanah holiday, which marks the Jewish new year, restrictions on men under 50 entering the mosque caused clashes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

A month-long series of Jewish holidays that start with Rosh Hashanah have in the past also caused heightened tensions as many Palestinians object to the increased numbers of Jewish visitors to the Al-Aqsa compound, which is revered by both Muslims and Jews, who know it as the Temple Mount.

Palestinians have in the past accused Israel of altering the status quo, a balance of prayer and visiting rights that reserves the right to worship at the site for Muslims, through its policing of Al-Aqsa and the surrounding area.

The tension caused by restrictions on entry to Al-Aqsa last year were followed by a period of violence that has seen at least 235 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, mostly during clashes or alleged attacks.

In the same period, 40 Israelis or foreigners were killed in attacks.