Israel closes West Bank, Gaza crossings for Sukkot holiday

The Israeli government on Tuesday announced it would close all crossings to and from the West Bank and Gaza for the 11-day Sukkot holiday.

Palestinians walk by cars waiting in line to cross the Israeli controlled Qalandiya Checkpoint, between Ramallah, West Bank and Jerusalem, on Tuesday. The Israeli Defense Ministry has announced that all crossings to Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza will be closed for 11 days during the Jewish feast of Sukkot. The closure will impact tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel. The crossings will be closed to Palestinians from Wednesday through October 14 except for humanitarian or medical cases. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo
Palestinians walk by cars waiting in line to cross the Israeli controlled Qalandiya Checkpoint, between Ramallah, West Bank and Jerusalem, on Tuesday. The Israeli Defense Ministry has announced that all crossings to Israel for Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza will be closed for 11 days during the Jewish feast of Sukkot. The closure will impact tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel. The crossings will be closed to Palestinians from Wednesday through October 14 except for humanitarian or medical cases. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

The closings, which The Times of Israel described as “a rare move,” are scheduled to begin at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

Sukkot, the Jewish Feast of Tabernacle which celebrates the fall harvest and commemorates the desert wandering of the Jews during the Exodus, ends Oct. 12, though the closures are scheduled to continue through the weekend, ending midnight on Oct. 14.

The Israel Defense Forces’ Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories may approve exceptions for humanitarian and medical cases.
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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman approved the closures after a deadly shooting in the West Bank’s Har Adar settlement last week.

A resident of the Palestinian village of Bayt Surik allegedly shot and killed a border officer and two private security guards, all Israelis. A fourth man, Har Adar’s security coordinator, was seriously injured in the attack.