Another Jewish holiday (Yom Kippur), another general closure

The IDF announcement came in an email 14 hours after the closure had already gone into effect: “In accordance with Ministry of Defense directives and in light of security assessments, a general closure of Judea and Samaria commenced yesterday, October 7th, 2008 at midnight. The lifting of the closure will be carried out on Friday, October 10th, 2008 at 8:00, in accordance with security assessments. For the duration of the closure, the passage of those in need of humanitarian and medical aid, as well as other specific requests will be authorized by the District Coordination and Liaison offices. The IDF regards Yom Kippur as a highly sensitive time. Accordingly, the IDF will increase its alertness in order to ensure the safety of the citizens of Israel , while preserving, to the best of its ability, the daily life of the Palestinian population”.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian Monitoring Group, part of the Negotiations Support Unit of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) reported that “Beginning at 24:00 on 07 October 2008, the Israeli army has continued to impose a complete closure over the West Bank districts on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. The Israeli army has also prevented civilians, including workers, from accessing the city of Jerusalem and areas inside the Green Line, only allowing previously coordinated humanitarian cases. The closure was lifted on the dawn of 10 October 2008. Beginning on 08 October 2008, the Israeli army has continued to intensify its restrictions at checkpoints located at the entrances to the city of Jerusalem as well as to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in the old city of Jerusalem. Due to the closure imposed on the West Bank districts on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the Israeli army has also prevented civilians not holding Jerusalem-issued ID cards from entering the city. As a result, classes were disrupted at schools in the city of Jerusalem”.

Israeli commentator Nachman Shai — the IDF spokesperson during the scud missile attacks on Israel during the First Gulf War — wrote an editorial in Yisrael Hayom “questioning the ‘routine’ closure that was imposed on the Palestinian areas of Judea and Samaria over the Rosh Hashanah holiday and says that, ‘Every day of joy for the Jews thus becomes a day of mourning, or – in the best case – a day of disruption on the Palestinian side’. The editors believe that Israelis and Palestinians are fated to be neighbors for a long time, so ‘Unless we see fit to build a foundation of understanding and even shared values, between us and the Palestinians, this area will always be a ticking bomb, and will explode’.”

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