Israel Lifting Partial Closure on De Facto West Bank Capital of Ramallah

Palestinian city closed after terror attack by Palestinian policeman, it was the first time in the current round of violence the measure was implemented.

Israeli soldier checks the vehicles of Palestinians on their way out of the West Bank village of Ein Sinya, northern Ramallah on February 1, 2016.
AFP

Israel will lift the partial closure on Ramallah, the de facto capital of the West Bank, on Teusday morning. The decision was taken late Monday by Maj. Gen. Roni Numa, after an assessment by IDF Central Command. In addition, the Israel Defense Forces will also lift the closure on the Palestinian village of Beit Ur a-Tahta, on lockdown since last week.

Israeli military officials decided after a security assessment late Sunday night to block entry to Ramallah for all non-residents, just hours after a Palestinian police officer from Ramallah shot and wounded three Israelis in the area. On Monday afternoon it emerged that exit from Ramallah is being restricted as well. 

Exit from the city was permitted for laborers with Israeli work permits, the transfer of goods, humanitarian cases (the sick, pregnant women and others) and for Palestinian officials, in coordination with Israeli authorities. Entry to the city is blocked for anyone other than residents of the city and Israeli Arabs. 

Tens of thousands of Palestinians visit the city daily from the area of Jerusalem and from across the West Bank. This is the first time since the wave of terror began in October that the IDF as surrounded a Palestinian city. 

According to a military source, the restrictions were not only imposed because of Sunday's shooting but also due to security warnings issued for the area and shooting attack cases that have yet to be solved.     

The decision to close off the city, which is both the West Bank's economic and political center, was made in accordance with instructions from the political echelon.