JERUSALEM: Israel will seal off the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip ahead of three Jewish holidays marking nearly a month of religious commemorations, the military said on Tuesday.
Palestinians will not be allowed to leave the West Bank or Gaza Strip to enter Israel during the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashana, later this month, as well as the Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays in October.
“During the closure, passage will be allowed only in humanitarian, medical and exceptional cases,” said the army, which regularly imposes these measures during the holidays.
The closures come against a backdrop of soaring tensions after a series of deadly attacks on Israelis since March.
Since then, the Israeli army has stepped up raids in the West Bank, notably in the regions of Nablus and Jenin where Palestinian armed groups are active.
The operations, which according to the army are aimed at arresting people suspected of “terrorism,” are frequently punctuated by clashes with fighters or residents.
Dozens of Palestinians, including members of armed groups, have been killed.
On Tuesday, a Palestinian was killed in clashes in the city of Nablus in a rare operation by Palestinian Authority security forces to arrest members of the Islamist movement Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s secular Fatah has been at loggerheads with Hamas since 2007, when the Islamist movement took control of Gaza after a near civil war.
Since then, reconciliation efforts have failed.
In a meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid spoke of “the need for calming the situation on the ground and halting terrorism ahead of the upcoming Jewish holidays,” Lapid’s office said.
During their meeting, Lapid said “Israel will not stand idly by and will fight terrorism directed against it in all its forms, and will not allow harm to the security of its citizens,” the statement added.