IDF imposes general closure on West Bank, Gaza for Passover

The Passover seder coincides this year with Palestinians marking Land Day.

March 28, 2018 12:05
1 minute read.
Israeli soldiers stand close to a security barrier near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip

Israeli soldiers stand close to a security barrier near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, Israel March, 2018. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)


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All crossings to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be closed to Palestinians from midnight Thursday until midnight on Saturday, April 7, with the exception of humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases approved by the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories unit.

Security forces regularly step up preparedness ahead of holidays, imposing closure on the West Bank, as there is often an uptick in terrorism.

The closure takes on greater significance this year as on Friday thousands of Gazans are set to converge on the border to mark Land Day, setting up tent cities as a form of peaceful protest. The demonstration is set to continue until May 15 when Palestinians mark Nakba (Catastrophe) Day and the founding of the State of Israel.

Land Day commemorates the government’s expropriation of Arab-owned land in the Galilee on March 30, 1976. In the ensuing riots, six unarmed Arab citizens were killed and hundreds wounded and arrested.

Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich said on Tuesday that while “we don’t need to fear Land Day,” the police is prepared for any scenario that could develop.

“In the end, the security situation is no more severe before the holiday than at the beginning of the holiday [on Friday night]. There is no rise in threats or intentions to carry out a terrorist attack before the holiday,” he said.

Several terrorist attacks have occurred during Passover, including during the Second Intifada when in 2002 Hamas operative Abd El-Basset Oudeh carried out a suicide bombing at the Park Hotel in Netanya during a Seder, killing 30 people and wounding 140 others.

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