Soldier arrests protestor at Beit Omar
Photo: AFP
Clashes at Kalandia checkpoint
Photo: AP

West Bank closure extended

Unusual move follows violent Saturday, intelligence information about planned riots

Following a violent day in the West Bank, and due to fears of future riots, Defense Minister Ehud Barak ordered the full closure imposed on the West Bank to continue for three more days.


The move marks the first time in several years where the entry of Palestinians into Israel is fully prevented during a period that is not a Jewish holiday.

Tense day (Photo: Reuters)


The IDF said that despite the closure, the entry of Palestinians will be allowed in humanitarian and medical cases, as well as other exceptional circumstances, in light with Civil Administration approval. Meanwhile, the transfer of goods will continue normally.


During the closure, about 1,000 church employees, 550 teachers, 50 Waqf employees, and another 100 religious officials will be allowed to enter east Jerusalem despite the restrictive measures.


Violent day

An Israeli motorist was hurt by Palestinian attackers Saturday, while several Palestinians were reportedly injured during clashes with security forces across the West Bank and Jerusalem.


The Israeli motorist sustained light wounds after his vehicle was hit by a Molotov cocktail Saturday night on Highway 443.


The man's son, who was also in the car, was not harmed in the attack. Border Guard police officers dispatched to the scene scoured the area for suspects.


Meir Ohayon, an eyewitness to the attack, told Ynet: "We saw an object being thrown. When it hit the car, there was a flash of fire."


An earlier  incident took place at the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem, where the Union of Palestinian Working Women's Committees – affiliated with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) – held a procession to mark International Women's Day.


During the rally, some 50 men and women attempted to breach the checkpoint while hurling stones and throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops.


IDF forces clashed with the demonstrators and employed crowd dispersal means. According to the Palestinians, soldiers attacked a group of women and six of them suffered minor injuries. Following the incident, two Palestinians were arrested and the checkpoint was shut down for four hours.


In a separate incident in the village of Beit Omar, some 60 rioters, including a group of Israeli citizens, blocked a main traffic intersection and hurled stones at security forces to protest the security fence's construction.


Several protestors confronted the soldiers and the area was declared a closed military zone. A group of demonstrators was hurt by tear gas and rubber bullets, while four protestors were detained and handed over to police for questioning. Two of the four are Palestinian journalists, who were released after several hours.


In a third incident, residents from Kfar Burin, southwest of Nablus, claimed IDF soldiers arrived at the village to remove settlers who were assaulting the locals. Palestinians hurled stones at the soldiers, who responded with crowd dispersal means. Six people were injured in that clash. 


Riots in Jerusalem

Meanwhile, tensions remained high in the capital as Arabs rioted near the Old City's Damascus Gate. Jerusalem District Police Commander, Aharon Franco, said entry to Temple Mount Sunday will continue to be restricted to Muslim worshippers with Israeli ID cards above the age of 50. Women of all ages will also be permitted to enter the complex.


The decision was based on police intelligence received on a group of Arab youths planning to enter Temple Mount and causing disturbances. Accordingly, the Jerusalem District Police and Border Guard will deploy in force around the Temple Mount complex and the alleys of Jerusalem's Old City.


Elsewhere, a Qassam rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in an open area in the Eshkol regional council in southern Israel. No injuries or damages were reported in the attack.


Ali Waked, Hanan Greenberg, Shmulik Grossman and Ilana Curiel contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 03.13.10, 22:41
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