‘General closure’ imposed on Palestinians for Israeli Independence Day, ahead of Nakba Day

Published May 12th, 2016 - 08:30 GMT
Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, after it was opened for two days by Egyptian authorities, on May 11, 2016. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Palestinians wait at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, in the southern Gaza Strip, after it was opened for two days by Egyptian authorities, on May 11, 2016. (AFP/Said Khatib)

Israeli authorities declared a “general closure” on Gaza and the occupied West Bank since midnight on Tuesday and continuing until midnight on Thursday, as Israel celebrates its Memorial and Independence day.

The general closure was implemented on the West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday, marking Israeli Memorial day, and will continue until the end of Israel’s Independence day on Thursday.

Crossings into Israel from the West Bank and Gaza are only being permitted in humanitarian cases. However, a representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has requested approval for Palestinians in need of serious medical assistance, a spokesperson for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) told Ma’an.

An Israeli army spokesperson said the closure was implemented following an army “security assessment” and added that the closure restrictions included the passage of products and the movement of people into Israel and its illegal settlements.

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.

The number of Palestinians employed, both documented and undocumented, in Israel and its illegal settlements for the first quarter of 2016 was 114,000, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).

The average unemployment rate for the Palestinian territory was 26.6 percent for this same period: 18 percent in the West Bank and a staggering 41.2 percent in Gaza. The poor state of the Palestinian territory's economy is largely attributed to the decades-long Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and the nearly nine year Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip which severely undermines any economic developments.

Israeli authorities imposed movement restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank  as recently as a few weeks ago during the Jewish holiday of Passover, including implementing a full closure on the besieged enclave of Gaza. 

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