Israel to impose 11 day closure during religious holiday

Israeli authorities will completely seal off the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip for 11 consecutive days over the Jewish religious holiday of Sukkot, when only humanitarian, medical, and exceptional cases will be allowed to exit or enter the territories, according to Israeli media reports. The closure will affect tens of thousands of Palestinians who legally work in Israel every day. Over the years, heart patients, women in childbirth and others have died as they waited for many hours at the checkpoint to get to hospital.

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported today that the Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed that the closure would begin on Wednesday, October 4 and last until Wednesday, October 14. However, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that she could not confirm the dates of the closure until Tuesday, a day before the lockdown is reportedly set to begin.

A member of a Christian observer group currently in the Holy Land commented: " It's ironic that while this feast is a reminder of the 40 years wandering in the desert and is a time of reflection on reliance on God - they make life totally miserable for everyone else! There will be small tents built on Jewish balconies all over the place."

She expressed fears that the tense atmosphere could become violent.

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