Israeli to impose Jerusalem checkpoint closures on Palestinians during Passover

Israeli to impose Jerusalem checkpoint closures on Palestinians during Passover
The Israeli army regularly imposes restrictions on entry to Jerusalem for Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza enclave, while Israeli settlers and forces regularly storm Palestinian towns and sites.
2 min read
01 April, 2023
Palestinians from the West Bank, such as the city of Bethlehem, have to go through Israeli military checkpoints in order to enter Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque [Getty]

The Israeli army on Friday said that it will close off all checkpoints to Jerusalem to Palestinians from the West Bank during certain days of the Jewish holiday of Passover, commencing on 5 April.

The closure is set to begin on Wednesday 5 April at 5PM, and last until Saturday 8 April at 11:59PM, according to The Times of Israel, citing the military.

A second closure will begin on 11 April at 5PM, and last until 12 April at 11:59 PM, which will also affect Palestinians wishing to enter Jerusalem from the besieged Gaza enclave.

Some crossings, however, will be open on Friday 7 April to allow Muslim worshippers to access the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

The comprise is said to be implemented by the army as entry restrictions for the sacred site were eased for  Ramadan.

In a further statement, the Israeli forces said that border crossings for Palestinians would reopen "subject to a situational assessment".

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Palestinians from Gaza and the occupied West Bank are regularly subjected to border closure policies during Jewish holiday celebrations, such as Yom Kippur and Purim, among others.

The Israeli military claims that such policies are put in place as a "preventative measures" in case of any attacks.

However, Palestinians worshippers are regularly faced with violence carried out by both Israeli forces and settlers during Islamic holidays or celebrations, particularly during Ramadan.

Israeli extremist groups often storm the Al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli forces in a bid to provoke, harass and assault Palestinians worshippers, while far-right national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir often instructs such incursions.

Earlier this week, an Israeli group -  the Temple Mount movement – called on followers to bring animals to the Al-Aqsa compound to be sacrificed during Passover.

The extremist group told their supporters to bring livestock for slaughtering purposes inside the Al-Aqsa compound, where non-Muslims are prohibited from entering.

Analysts have warned that such a move would lead to "an explosion" in tensions at the compound, which is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

Israeli violence in the West Bank has surged dramatically this year, as Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right cabinet came into power in November 2022. The government has been labelled the most "extreme" in the country’s 70-year history.

At least 90 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers in 2023 alone.