Israel to seal off Palestine territories for Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur

Middle East Monitor  /  September 22, 2023

Israel announced, on Friday, that it will seal off the Palestinian Territories for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which begins Saturday midnight, Anadolu Agency reports.

The Israeli army said in a statement that, based on a security assessment and the political level directives, a full closure of the West Bank will be imposed during the Yom Kippur holiday, in addition to the closure of crossings with Gaza.

It added that the closure will begin on Saturday at midnight and will end on Tuesday at midnight.

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

Yom Kippur is considered the holiest day in the Jewish calendar. It is traditionally observed with a day-long fast and special services at synagogues.

Israel will also mark the Sukkot holiday at the end of September and the Simhat Torah holiday on 6 October,  but the army did not clarify whether it will impose the same closure or not.

During the Jewish holidays, protests may occur between Palestinians and Jewish settlers, who usually storm 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.