Israeli forces escalate siege on Jericho with iron gates, cement blocks

The Palestine Chronicle  /  May 5, 2023

Israeli forces escalated their siege against the occupied West Bank city of Jericho/Ariha and the surrounding areas on Friday, installing iron gates and cement blocks, The New Arab reported.

The Palestinian city has been under siege for 14 days, with Israel aiming to prevent growing armed resistance in the area.

Ayman Gharib, an activist in the Jordan Valley region, told Al-Araby al-Jadeed that Israeli forces installed an iron gate near the northern entrance to Jericho and placed cement blocks on a road leading to a nearby village.

Additional blocks were also installed to seal off the eastern entrance to the village.

Efforts to pave dirt roads have faced attacks from masked settlers who wear military uniforms and carry weapons with authorization and protection from the Israeli army, Gharib added.

The settlers deliberately crashed jeeps into Palestinian vehicles to destroy them and harm those inside, Gharib said, adding this was specifically taking place on secondary routes like the Al-Maarajat road – even though it’s part of Area A.

Area A of the West Bank is the part Israeli recognizes as being under full Palestinian Authority control.

According to the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, the total losses of the city in the tourism sector and related sectors from February until April amounted to $60 million, while losses during the holidays last month amounted to $30 million.

Since the start of this year, Jericho and the surrounding areas have seen several shootings against Israeli targets. An armed group in the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp near the city has announced injuries among the Israeli military’s ranks.

So far in 2023, Israeli forces and illegal Jewish settlers have killed more than 100 Palestinians across the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip.

(PC, The New Arab)