Israel Closes Main Road, Blocks 20 Villages From Accessing Ramallah

Israeli forces block a road leading to Ramallah
Israeli forces block a road leading to Ramallah

Ramallah, 19 Rabiul Akhir 1437/29 January 2016 (MINA) – Israeli forces on Thursday closed a main road west of Ramallah city, which connects 20 villages to the economic and cultural hub, the mayor of Ramallah said.

Ras Karqar Bahjat Samhan said Israeli troops closed the road with large concrete blocks without prior notice, preventing residents from being able to access Ramallah city, in the central occupied West Bank.

He added that the closure affects 45,000 Palestinians from 20 villages and neighborhoods from reaching their families, work, universities and schools.

A spokesperson with Israel’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) did not immediately respond for comment on the closure, Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) quoting Ma’an reported.

On Sunday, the mayor said Israeli forces also closed the road between Beit Owr junction and route 443 which separates five other villages from Ramallah city.

Roadblocks, temporary checkpoints, and security checks upon entrance and exit into many Palestinian villages and towns are among the increased restrictions that Israeli forces have initiated since a wave of unrest swept the region at the start of October.

Israel’s security cabinet in November 2015 gave the Israeli army the liberty to seal Palestinian villages in the occupied West Bank without first receiving approval from the government.

A senior Israeli official told Israeli daily Haaretz at the time that military commanders would be authorized to
independently implement the total closures while “searching for suspected terrorists.”

The military was already carrying out the decision without such approval prior to the cabinet’s meeting, the report added.

Following attacks carried out by Palestinian individuals on Israeli military and civilians that began in the military has frequently sealed villages and cities in the area around the attack or hometown of attacker.

Locals have also reported closures following clashes between residents and forces, as well as arbitrary closure to prevent Palestinians from roads used by Israelis and settlers. (T/R07/R03)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)