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Israeli settlers and military erect roadblocks across the West Bank

Jerusalem24 – By sundown tonight begins the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year for practitioners of the Jewish faith, and an occasion to celebrate worldwide.

Celebrations for Jewish Israelis, however, entail a great deal of additional restrictions to Palestinians, such as border and road closures, additional checkpoints, and an increased police and military presence, particularly in occupied East Jerusalem.

But while Palestinians are accustomed to restrictions on their freedom of movement, from Jerusalem through Jericho to Jenin, a relatively recent development has been unfolding where Palestinian residents of the occupied West Bank see roads completely closed by settlers and soldiers alike, and entire cities cordoned off during the Jewish holidays.

“A siege on the city”

This morning, residents of Nablus as well as the entire northern West Bank commuting down to Ramallah found themselves boxed in by checkpoints and roadblocks set up all around the city.

Just as traffic became heavy with commuters heading to their respective places of work, Israeli forces closed all the checkpoints surrounding Nablus, including Huwara and Awarta, to the south; Murabba-Tel and Surrah-Jeet to the west; and Beit Furik to the east.

Palestinian journalists in Nablus described the closures and impromptu settler-erected roadblocks as a siege on the city.

An-Najah University in Nablus announced teaching would take place remotely for the day.

A map showing the checkpoints encircling the city of Nablus, including four that were closed on the morning of 4 October 2022 (the Murabba-Tel checkpoint is not included in this map). [Credit: B’Tselem]

The case of Huwara

A large group of Israeli settlers (some armed with automatic rifles), accompanied by the Israeli army, gathered at Huwara junction – the main junction between the northern and southern parts of the occupied West Bank that finds itself the frequent site of settler and soldier attacks – and blocked the passage of Palestinian vehicles.

While incidents have been recorded in the past week of Israeli settlers – acting under the protection of the Israeli military – blocking the passage of Palestinian cars on roads around Bethlehem, Nablus, and today in Ramallah, the gathering this morning appeared to be religious in nature, with several dozen settlers performing prayers in the middle of the road they were blocking access to.

A separate group of Israeli settlers attacked Huwara Secondary School for Boys, pelting it with stones and injuring two students and the school principal.

The residents of Huwara are no strangers to Israeli settler and military violence, or prolonged closures and curfews. The Israeli military once closed the village for 42 days during the Second Intifada, allowing residents to leave their house for two hours daily to stock up on essentials like food and medicine.

Roya correspondent Hafez Abu Sabra says the scenes of the last few days are reminiscent of the Second Intifada.

Video footage shows Israeli settlers attempting to block the road to Palestinian cars close to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El just north of Ramallah, Tuesday 4 October 2022.

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