Israel announces full closure of Palestine Territories during 2-day Jewish ‘Simchat Torah’ holiday

Middle East Monitor  /  October 6, 2023

Israel, late on Thursday, announced a complete closure of the Palestinian Territories during the two-day Jewish Simchat Torah (Joy of the Torah) holiday, Anadolu Agency reports.

The coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Ghassan Alyan, said in a statement that based on a security assessment and the political level directives, a complete closure of the West Bank will be imposed during the Simchat Torah holiday, in addition to the closure of crossings with Gaza.

He added that the closure began at midnight on Thursday and will end at midnight on Saturday.

The Israeli army, however, said during the closure period, it will allow only medical and humanitarian cases to pass through its military checkpoints, but conditional upon prior approval from the army.

The Israeli closure is the third in less than a month, following closures on 18 September for the Jewish New Year holiday and 29 September for the Sukkot (Torah-commanded) holiday.

During the Jewish holidays, protests may occur between Palestinians and illegal Jewish settlers who usually storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex in Occupied East Jerusalem, and perform provocative rituals inside the Muslims’ holy site.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa is the world’s third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the Temple Mount, claiming it was the site of two ancient Jewish temples.