Israeli forces impose military closure on Palestinian town of Silwad for third day in a row

Israeli forces impose military closure on Palestinian town of Silwad for third day in a row
Residents of the Palestinian West Bank town village of Silwad are living through the third day of a full Israeli military closure following a shooting attack on an Israeli settlers' bus near the town.
3 min read
West Bank
22 August, 2022
Israeli forces often impose military closures on Palestinian towns in the West Bank. [Qassam Muaddi/ TNA]

Israeli forces continue to forcibly close the Palestinian town of Silwad, east of Ramallah for the third day, blocking its entrances and surrounding roads and isolating its residents and the population of several neighbouring villages.
The Israeli military closure of Silwad began late on Saturday following a shooting attack on an Israeli settlers' bus on Road 60 near the town. No casualties were reported.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, Israeli forces raided Silwad and arrested several Palestinians before blocking one of the town's entrances with mounds of dirt and closing the other entrance with a checkpoint.

 "The closure has begun to create sanitary problems as we can't access the town's dumpsite and get rid of solid waste," Raed Hammad, mayor of Silwad told The New Arab.

"Food stocks are still available at this stage, but if the closure continues for long, stores might begin to run low on food and other daily life products," the mayor said. "It is mostly employees in companies and institutions in the city [Ramallah] living in Silwad who are affected as they can't go to work."

"This is a collective punishment that not only affects the 10,000 people of Silwad but of all neighbouring villages who use the same roads to access the city," he added. 

"On Saturday, Israeli forces were letting cars through the checkpoint out of Silwad very early in the morning, so I took the bus to college," Israa Zyadeh, a third-year student of Public Administration at Birzeit University, told The New Arab.
"At the checkpoint, the soldiers stopped us for 42 minutes, checking our papers and forcing some passengers down the bus," Zyadeh said.

"They arrested five men from the bus I was on. One of the arrested was a student," she added.

Early on Monday, dozens of Palestinian cars were forced to turn back after waiting to be allowed to cross for an hour at the Silwad entrance checkpoint, mostly from neighbouring villages.

The town of Silwad has been at the centre of Israeli raids and closures in recent months.

In April, Israeli forces killed a teenager in Silwad during a raid into the town to arrest wanted Palestinians.

In late June, Israeli forces killed another teenager in Silwad and withheld his body for a week before returning it to the family.
Recently in July, Israeli forces arrested twenty Palestinians from Silwad in a night raid, marking one of the largest arrest raids into a single Palestinian town in recent years.

Silwad is the commercial hub and chief town of the eastern Ramallah region, including a personal status courthouse and other government offices.

In contrast, it is one of the most targeted Palestinian towns by Israeli forces' raids in recent years, with dozens of its inhabitants killed and hundreds arrested by Israeli forces.

Road closures are a common Israeli policy used in the occupied West Bank, often leading to the closure of entire towns for long periods. The practice has been described by several human rights groups as "collective punishment".
In June, Israeli forces forcibly closed the village of Aboud, west of Ramallah, for more than two weeks. In November of 2021, Israeli forces closed the village of Deir Nizam, northwest of Ramallah, for more than two months.
According to UN documentation, there are around 700 Israeli road obstacles restricting the movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.