For Second Year Running, Israel Imposes Closure on West Bank and Gaza for Purim

What was once an unusual step has now been taken for the second year in a row. IDF says closure may continue, depending on a situation assessment.

File Photo: Israeli soldiers man a temporary checkpoint outside a West Bank Palestinian village, 2011.

The Israel Defense Forces announced a full closure for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the Purim holiday. The three-day closure will begin at midnight between Thursday and Friday and will be lifted at midnight Sunday.

All the crossings to the West Bank and Gaza will be closed completely to Palestinians for the entire period, with the exception of humanitarian cases, medical and otherwise, with the approval of the IDF's Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

Purim will be celebrated in most of Israel on Sunday this year, while in Jerusalem it is observed on Monday – when the crossings are set to open again.

The IDF Spokesman's Office made the announcement on Thursday, and said the order for the closure came from the political leadership and the lifting of the closure would be conditional on an assessment of the situation at the time.  

Israel customarily implements such a closure before all major Jewish holidays. Last year, in what was considered an exceptional move, a closure was implemented for Purim too, a move that had not been taken for a number of years before 2016.