Is­rael shuts Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries for hol­i­day

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

JERUSALEM: Is­rael has ar­rested 19 peo­ple and tem­po­rar­ily closed the Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries as it pre­pares for the last of a month of Jewish hol­i­day com­mem­o­ra­tions, au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day. Pales­tini­ans will be barred from en­ter­ing from the West Bank and Gaza Strip as the Sukkot fes­ti­val wraps up with the Sim­chat To­rah hol­i­day, which be­gins at sun­down Sun­day and ends the next evening.

The clo­sure, a fre­quent mea­sure for ma­jor Jewish hol­i­days, will re­main in place through­out Sun­day and Mon­day, with only emer­gency cases al­lowed through, the Is­raeli army said. Is­raeli po­lice also an­nounced they had ar­rested 19 Pales­tini­ans in var­i­ous ar­eas of an­nexed east Jerusalem in con­nec­tion with re­cent clashes with se­cu­rity forces. Po­lice said the clashes took place over the Yom Kip­pur hol­i­day ear­lier in Oc­to­ber and the ar­rests were “based on in­tel­li­gence and op­er­a­tions”.

The week-long Sukkot fes­ti­val is the last of three suc­ces­sive Jewish hol­i­days that have led to ten­sions with the Pales­tini­ans in the past. Ear­lier in Oc­to­ber, Jews marked Yom Kip­pur and Rosh Hashanah, or New Year. A Pales­tinian gun at­tack in Jerusalem on Oc­to­ber 9 that killed two peo­ple raised fears of fur­ther vi­o­lence and Is­rael has boosted se­cu­rity.

Last year’s hol­i­day pe­riod led to clashes and marked the start of an up­surge in Pales­tinian gun, knife and car-ram­ming at­tacks. Thou­sands of Jews visit the Western Wall in east Jerusalem’s Old City dur­ing the hol­i­day pe­riod, while a smaller num­ber go to the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque com­pound. The com­pound is holy to both Mus­lims and Jews, who re­fer to it as the Tem­ple Mount. The site is cen­tral to the Is­raeli-Pales­tinian con­flict, with Pales­tini­ans fear­ing Is­rael may one day seek to as­sert fur­ther con­trol over it.

Vi­o­lence since Oc­to­ber 2015 has killed 235 Pales­tini­ans, 36 Is­raelis, two Amer­i­cans, one Jor­da­nian, an Eritrean and a Su­danese na­tional, ac­cord­ing to an AFP count. Most of the Pales­tini­ans killed were car­ry­ing out knife, gun or car-ram­ming at­tacks, ac­cord­ing to Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties. Oth­ers were shot dead dur­ing protests or clashes, while some were killed in Is­raeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. — AFP

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