BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities will impose wide-ranging closures on the West Bank and Gaza beginning Thursday during the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, limiting the movement of Palestinians just as the Islamic Eid al-Adha festival begins.
Military authorities said in a statement on Thursday that the closures would begin at midnight on Thursday and last until Saturday midnight, massively limiting the movement of all Palestinians in and out of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the duration of the holiday.
The only possible exceptions that could be made, the statement continued, were for humanitarian and medical needs, although the closure of government offices during the same time could present difficulties to those seeking to utilize the exceptions.
Israel routinely seals the Palestinian territories during Jewish holidays, depriving Palestinians of the freedom of movement and cutting them off from family and work inside Israel.
This year's closure, however, is particularly controversial, as the somber Yom Kippur day of repentance overlaps with the joyous Eid al-Adha festival, celebrated by millions of Palestinian Muslims.
Yom Kippur lasts from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, while the Eid holiday is marked for five days beginning Friday. more