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Israel to close West Bank, Gaza for Israeli independence day

April 29, 2017 12:03 P.M. (Updated: April 29, 2017 9:43 P.M.)
(File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities will implement a closure on the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip beginning Saturday night for Israel’s independence day.

An Israeli army spokesperson confirmed the closure, which she said will go into effect at midnight Saturday night/Sunday morning, and last until midnight on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, adding that passage will remain open only to "special, humanitarian, and medical cases."

Severe restrictions on movement for Palestinians are typically implemented by Israeli authorities during Jewish holidays for alleged security purposes.

Debilitating poverty and lack of employment drives many workers in the occupied West Bank to enter Israel in search of work. Israel's imposition of closures on the Palestinian territory has severely affected the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who depend on entering Israel, or its illegal settlements, for employment opportunities.

Israeli authorities imposed movement restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza earlier this month during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Israeli authorities also sealed the West Bank and tightened the decade-long closure of the Gaza Strip for the Jewish holiday of Purim last month, preventing movement both in and out of the occupied territory.

Meanwhile, such policies have been strongly criticized by rights groups for amounting to collective punishment.
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