Israel blockades Palestinian territories during Jewish New Year

Israel Materials 12 September 2007 15:34 (UTC +04:00)

( RIA Novosti ) - The Israeli Army has imposed a near-total blockade of the Palestinian territories during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the military's press service said.

A general lockdown will be imposed on the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in keeping with a decision by the Israeli defense minister, beginning Wednesday night, it said. It will be lifted after a security assessment has been completed once the holiday ends at sunset Friday.

Security clampdowns on the movement of Palestinians have accompanied all major Jewish holidays in the past few years, and have drawn widespread criticism for their repressive character.

The army said it would make an exception for "humanitarian" cases, to be approved on an individual basis by the District Coordination and Liaison offices.

Some 1,600 Palestinians will also be permitted to cross from the West Bank into Israel for the olive harvest, while journalists moving into and out of the West Bank will not be affected as long as their credentials, passports and visas are valid.

Thousands of soldiers and police will patrol Israel's main towns and districts as the Jewish faithful celebrate 5,768 years since the creation of the world.

Tensions flared in recent days as rocket fire by Islamist militants into Israel from the Gaza Strip continued unabated.

Scores of soldiers were wounded Tuesday when a Qassam rocket landed on a military base near the Hamas-controlled enclave, and Israel threatened to cut off deliveries of essential supplies to the territory.