Israeli forces continue closure on Nablus for 7th consecutive day

The New Arab  /  October 17, 2022

“It has been a difficult week, with no work and with the sound of Israeli drones overflying the city around the clock,” noted Ghazal. “The worst part is that it is not over, and we don’t know when will it be.”

Israeli forces continue to impose a military closure on the occupied West Bank Palestinian city of Nablus for the seventh day.

Israeli forces have restricted movement in and out of the city since last Tuesday, following the killing of an Israeli soldier in a shooting near the Jewish settlement of Shavei Shomron, north of Nablus.

The “Lions’ Den”, a group of Palestinian fighters from several Palestinian factions entrenched in Nablus, claimed responsibility for the operation.

Following the attack, Israeli forces blocked several roads northwest of Nablus, isolating ten villages from the city, before imposing a complement restriction on movement within the city through checkpoints at its entrances.

“Although inside Nablus itself life seems normal, there are much fewer people in the streets,” Ameen Abu Wardeh, a Palestinian journalist based in Nablus, told The New Arab.

“People are avoiding having to leave Nablus as it could take hours only to get out of the city, while people from surrounding villages can’t access the centre,” Abu Wardeh added. “Commerce has dropped significantly as the marketplace in the old city is almost empty while on normal days it’s full of people, and education has also been affected.”

On its Facebook page, the Al-Najah University in Nablus announced that classes are being held online since last Wednesday.

“Studies will continue online for the rest of the week and will be resumed in presence next Saturday,” the university’s announcement stated. “Arrangements will be made for students who will not be able to access the campus, in cooperation with teachers.”

“As there are almost no students in the university, we have sold almost nothing in the last week,” Nisreen Ghazal, an owner of a takeaway home-made food business located across the street from the Al-Najah University, said to The New Arab.

“On normal days, our street is full of students, teachers and employees, who are our clients,” said Ghazal. “Today, it is completely empty except for a few residents.”

“It has been a difficult week, with no work and with the sound of Israeli drones overflying the city around the clock,” noted Ghazal. “The worst part is that it is not over, and we don’t know when will it be.”

“People who absolutely need to leave Nablus can do it, but they have to take long alternative routes and expect an improvised Israeli checkpoint on the way,” Fidaa Abu Hamdiyah, a resident of Ramallah, told The New Arab while she was leaving Nablus.

“I left a friend’s house in Nablus at 2:45 pm and arrived at one of the alternative roads that go through a nearby village some 15 minutes later,” said Abu Hamdiyah. “I waited for my turn in a long queue of cars while Israeli soldiers searched every vehicle with detail, and forced some of them back to the city. I was finally able to cross out of Nablus at around 3:40 pm, almost a full hour after I set out to leave.” 

Late on Sunday, Israeli forces raided Nablus and arrested one Palestinian amidst growing concerns of a possible larger raid on the city.

Also on Sunday, the “Jenin Brigade”, a group that gathers Palestinian fighters in the Jenin refugee camp, said in a statement that its members “will not leave their brothers in Nablus alone even if we have to send fighters to Nablus to fight beside them”.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces continue to impose a closure on the Shuafat refugee camp in Jerusalem as they search for a Palestinian suspected of being behind a shooting that killed two Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint outside the camp last week.

Confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters have continued throughout the week in occupied Jerusalem, and Israeli police announced that it arrested 50 Palestinians.

The closure on Nablus arrives amidst an ongoing escalation in the West Bank in which Israeli forces killed more than 100 Palestinians since the beginning of the year, according to the Palestinian health ministry.