Israel locks down West Bank for Yom Kippur
Published Thursday 16/09/2010 (updated) 18/09/2010 09:24
Border police stand near Palestinian women at the Qalandiya terminal outside
the West Bank city of Ramallah, 26 Sept. 2008, as they try to reach Jerusalem's
Al-Aqsa Mosque on the last Friday of Ramadan. [MaanImages/Rami Swidan]
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israel's military announced a total closure of the West Bank starting before midnight Thursday to midnight Sunday for the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday.
"Security crossings into Israel will be temporarily closed," a statement from the military said, "in accordance with security assessments adopted by the defense establishment."
The streets of Jerusalem are expected to be closed as of sunset Friday, as religious Jews observe Shabbat for the Day of Atonement.
Non-religious Jews and non-Jewish residents of the city are prohibited from driving on most city streets.
West Bank residents in need of medical attention will be permitted passage, the statement said, while "the passage of humanitarian aid as well as doctors, medical personnel, NGO members, attorneys, and additional professionals will be coordinated by the Civil Administration."
A spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories office said tourists and those holding international passports would be unaffected by the crossings closure, but he advised foreign nationals with vehicles, that the Jerusalem roads would be closed for the holiday.
Passage for journalists with Israeli Government Press Office certification can pass in and out of the area, but they are "encouraged to coordinate their passage in advance with the IDF," the statement said.
(This version UPDATES comment from COGAT spokesman concerning foreign nationals.)