Israeli settlements shut their gates to Palestinian workers in light of violence

The closure does not include the industrial areas or the Gush Etzion junction, where a Rami Levi supermarket is located.

October 14, 2015 11:40
2 minute read.
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A girl holds an Israeli flag on a hilltop near the Maaleh Adumim settlement. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Numerous settlements closed their gates to Palestinian workers on Wednesday to protect themselves against possible attacks in their home communities.

Among those that barred entry to Palestinian workers were settlements in the Gush Etzion, Samaria and the Binyamin regions, as well as Givat Ze’ev and the cities of Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim and Betar Illit.

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The closure does not include the industrial areas or the Gush Etzion junction, where a Rami Levi supermarket is located.

It is unclear if the policy will continue into next week.

Local and regional councils plan to reassess the situation on Thursday.

Although none of the attacks since October 1 has taken place inside the communities of Judea and Samaria, settler leaders, one after the other, announced the closings.

According to the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, some 27,000 West Bank Palestinians work in Jewish communities and the industrial parks of Judea and Samaria.

The bulk of those Palestinians who work in the industrial zones are not affected by the policy, which has heavily impacted the construction industry. In Gush Etzion, for example, about 500 Palestinians were not allowed to come to work on Wednesday.

In Samaria, the regional council threatened to penalize contractors who ignored the closing policy.

Separately, the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip canceled the rally it had planned for Tuesday night in the capital’s Paris Square – near Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence – to call for increased security and for construction in the settlements.

The council has ended the protest it had held every day outside Netanyahu’s residence since October 1, when Palestinian gunmen killed Eitam and Naama Henkin as they drove with their four young sons in Samaria.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who initiated the daily protest, said they stopped the protests out of a sense of national responsibly.

“We sat across from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for 12 days, with the demand to bring back security and an adequate, Zionist response to terrorism: the strengthening of the settlement enterprise,” Dagan said.

“These are difficult days for the prime minister, too. In recent days I sat with him for many long hours, and we felt that leaving aside the disagreements, the prime minister opened both his heart and his mind, so that he’s more open and understanding than ever before to our national and security demands,” he said.

“We are returning from here to our settlements and communities, but we are not giving up our demands or our right to build new towns all over the Land of Israel!” Dagan said.

“Our enemies are trying to hurt our morale and national resilience, but our spirit is stronger than ever! We are one people, united, and together, with God’s help, we will win!” he said.

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