Israel to seal off West Bank, Gaza Strip on Jewish holidays; Palestinians say decision racist, hurts economy

The Israeli military government decided today to close all checkpoints leading to Israel from the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the Jewish New Year, which starts on Friday, prompting the Palestinians to criticize this decision as racist and harmful to their economy.

The official Israeli radio Kan said the occupation authorities will cordon off the West Bank and Gaza Strip, starting from noon tomorrow, Friday, through Saturday night coinciding with the Jewish New Year.

The occupation authorities are expected to also impose a comprehensive closure on the occupied Palestinian territories during the upcoming Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays that run through the month of October.

The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates denounced the closures, considering them a punishment on racial background and harmful to the Palestinian economy.

It described the closures in a statement as “a blatant use of religious events for colonial purposes in an effort to mislead world public opinion by blaming the victim while acquitting the executioner, not to mention the economic and social harm they cause to our people.”

Meanwhile, Palestinians have also expressed concern about the rise in calls by Jewish fanatic and extremist organizations and officials to intensify the storming of the Muslim holy site, Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City during the upcoming Jewish holidays.

They fear that these calls will lead to a religious war if the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a purely Muslim holy place, is altered in any way and Jews are allowed to worship on its 144-dunum walled compound.

Already the Israeli occupation authorities have issued orders barring dozens of Palestinian activists in occupied East Jerusalem from reaching or entering the Al-Aqsa compound for the coming weeks to secure free access to Jewish fanatics and settlers to the Muslim holy site during the Jewish holidays.

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