Israel’s strict siege on Nablus turns it into ‘open-air prison’

Roads are closed with barriers as Israeli forces' blockade entrance and exit of Nablus, October 12 (Nedal Eshtayah - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  October 20, 2022

For the tenth consecutive day, the Palestinian city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank has been under a strict siege imposed by the Israeli occupation army following the killing of a soldier near an illegal Jewish settlement.

Occupation forces have closed all entrances to the city using dirt mounds and iron gates, forcing residents to navigate new ways to leave the city, which take three hours or more.

A cargo vehicle driver from Nablus, Murad Abdullah, told Anadolu that the situation is similar to the closure endured by the city during the Second Intifada in 2000.

“The Israeli army closed all entrances and set up military checkpoints in the vicinity of the city,” he added.

An-Najah National University in Nablus moved its classes online as a result of the closures.

The city’s once vibrant markets are now almost empty.

Palestinian citizen Muhammad Abu Shammar said Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people are escalating and include killing, theft of land, settlement expansion and incursions into Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Israel is primarily responsible for any escalation. The Palestinians are defending the city,” he said, while stressing that “the siege will not break the will of the city’s residents.”

In a bid to confront the Israeli occupation, coordinator of national forces in the Nablus governorate, Nasr Abu Jaish, announced a community initiative, in partnership with civil and governmental institutions and universities, to break the Israeli siege.

“We invited all factions and civil institutions to march to all military checkpoints to end the siege,” Abu Jaish told Anadolu.

“In the coming days, we will start implementing peaceful marches,” he added, calling on Palestinians from other governorates to come to Nablus to besiege occupation forces.

Last week, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said the cities of Nablus and Jenin in the northern West Bank posed a “great challenge” to his army.

“Although the security forces have taken control of the situation, it is still a very tense period,” Gantz said in an interview with Ynet website.