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West Bank, Gaza crossings will remain open during Jewish holiday

March 17, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Palestinian workers cross into Israel from the Gaza Strip on early September 24, 2003 at the Erez border crossing point, Israel. [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]

For the first time in five years Israel will not be closing the West Bank crossings for Palestinians during the Purim holiday, which began yesterday evening, the military said.

The closures are standard practice during the Jewish national holiday of Purim, in what the military claim is a preventative measure.

The Israeli measures include the closure of all major roads, setting up military checkpoints and the intensification of the army’s presence, as well as the closure of all crossings around the Gaza Strip, tightening the siege even further.

All such abusive and oppressive actions against Palestinians are said to be needed as a means of “securing the celebrations of the settlers.”

READ: Dozens of Israeli settlers storm Al-Aqsa complex to celebrate Purim

However, in a statement provided to the Jerusalem Post, the army’s Spokesperson’s Unit said: “In accordance with a situational security assessment and the guidance of the political echelon, it was decided not to impose a general closure on the Judea and Samaria [the occupied West Bank] area and not to close the crossings in the Gaza Strip during the Purim holiday.”

“The decision will be reviewed during the holiday in light of events and developments,” the statement added.

Purim is celebrated every year on the 14th of the Hebrew month of Adar, which generally falls in late winter or early spring.

The decision not to impose a closure was taken following a discussion between the occupation army, Israel’s domestic intelligence service Shin Bet and soldiers, where they supported the recommendation due to a lack of warnings regarding safety, particularly since the murder of two Palestinians, including a teenage boy, by Israeli forces on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Benny Gantz accepted the recommendation.

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