Israeli forces Saturday continued to impose strict closures on Nablus-area villages of Beita, Einabus, Urif, and Huwwara for the seventh consecutive day, claiming rocks had been thrown by Palestinians at settlers vehicles on the Huwwara main road.
Israeli forces completely sealed the village of Beita on all sides with cement blocks and dirt mounds, leaving just one road from the village open, adding at least 20 kilometers onto the travel time for Palestinians trying to reach the village.
A merchant working in the Beita village market Abu Muhammad told Ma’an that the closures have caused the prices of fruits and vegetables to skyrocket due to the increasing price of transportation, adding that some merchants have refused to deliver to the market due to the Israeli blockade.
Meanwhile, a bus driver working along the Beita-Nablus road Hashem Abu Zaitoun emphasized to Ma’an that Palestinians were suffering from the closure as residents have been forced to take dirt roads that take more than an hour-and-a-half to travel between Beita and Nablus, a trip usually taking some 15-20 minutes.
Israeli forces have claimed that the closures were implemented as a result of rocks being thrown in the area at Israeli settlers’ cards, however Zaitoun told Ma'an that witnesses and surveillance cameras had caught an Israeli settler stepping out of his car and smashing his own window several days ago near Huwwara road, reportedly in an attempt to frame Palestinians for throwing rocks.
Israeli forces have been searching for Palestinian stone-throwers for more than a month, but have yet to detain anyone despite deploying dozens of soldiers and erecting checkpoints and cameras around communities, Zaitoun said.
Several residents of Beita and nearby villages told Ma’an via telephone that the Palestinian Authority (PA) have not stepped up and taken responsibility for the closures being imposed in the villages, while it was also stressed that the restrictions on movement will severely restrict the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
A Palestinian military liaison told Ma’an that the Awarta checkpoint has been closed with an iron gate, while the Einabus-Huwwara, Beita-Awarta, Beita-Udala, Beita-Huwwara, and Beita-Zaatara roads, in addition to the main Beita road and the road connecting Madama to Einabus have all been closed by Israeli forces.
An Israeli army spokesperson said she would look into reports on the closures.
The occupied West Bank has seen an increase in arbitrary military road closures since October when a wave of unrest first erupted across the West Bank and Israel, leading to periodic blockade of Palestinian villages, towns, checkpoints, and entire districts.
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