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Israel shuts Palestinian territories for holiday

More than 3,000 forces are being deployed ahead of Jewish holiday

By AFP - Oct 11,2016 - Last updated at Oct 11,2016

A Palestinian woman carries a child as she inspects the remains of a house after it was demolished by Israeli authorities who said it was built without municipal permission on Sunday in the occupied West Bank village of Khirbet ar-Ras Al Ahmar, north of Nablus (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israel boosted security and barred Palestinians from entering from the occupied West Bank or the Gaza Strip ahead of the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday that begins on Tuesday evening.

Thousands of Jews visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City around Yom Kippur, or Day of Atonement, which ends on Wednesday evening.

The same occurred for last week’s Rosh Hashanah holiday and will take place again for next week’s Sukkot festival.

More than 3,000 forces are being deployed in the city for the holiday.

On Monday night, tens of thousands of Jews crowded into the square around the Western Wall, Israeli forces spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said.

Prayers led by Israel’s two chief rabbis began shortly after midnight and continued until sunset for some worshippers, in one of the largest Jewish ceremonies of the year.

Many Palestinian shops in the Old City remained closed.

Closures of the Palestinian territories are often put in place for major Jewish holidays.

The closure in place Tuesday and Wednesday applies only to Palestinians and not the roughly 400,000 Israeli settlers who live in the West Bank.

The Gaza Strip is always under an Israeli blockade, though some crossings are usually allowed for work or medical purposes.

Humanitarian and urgent medical cases will be allowed during the holiday despite the closure, the army said.

 

Palestinians and human rights groups say the measure amounts to collective punishment since family members are forced to suffer for the acts of others.

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