Israel closes occupied Palestinian territories for Jewish holidays

Israel closes occupied Palestinian territories for Jewish holidays
The occupied West Bank is lock down and Gaza is closed, as Israel clamps down on security citing security concerns before a Jewish holiday.
1 min read
16 October, 2016
The Israeli army have closed the West Bank and Gaza for Jewish holidays [Getty]

Israel closed off the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip on Sunday for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the army said, as concerns rose over whether visits to a sensitive holy site in occupied Jerusalem could lead to violence.

The restrictions barring Palestinians from entering would remain in place through Monday, but humanitarian cases would be allowed passage an army spokeswoman said.

Sukkot usually sees an increase in Jewish visitors to flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, which has led to clashes in past years.

The site is sacred to both Muslims and Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, and the holy site is central to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians fear Israel may one day seek to assert further control over it.

Sunday evening marks the beginning of Sukkot, a week-long holiday to commemorate the Jewish journey through the Sinai wilderness to the Holy Land after their exodus from Egyptian slavery.

It is the third of three successive Jewish holidays that have led to tensions with the Palestinians in the past.

Last week, Jews marked Yom Kippur, while Rosh Hashanah, or New Year, was the previous week.