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Israeli army enforces West Bank, Gaza closure for Jewish New Year

Un membre des forces de sécurité israëliennes monte la garde devant le checkpoint de Qalandia, entre Jérusalem et Ramallah en Cisjordanie occupée le 27 avril 2016
AHMAD GHARABLI (AFP/Archives)
Such closures are common ahead of Israeli holidays, but comes amid a recent uptick in Palestinian attacks

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) announced Saturday night that it would enforce a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip over Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, from Sunday to Tuesday.

"Palestinians will not be able to enter Israeli territories, expect for humanitarian or medical cases," the IDF said. The closure began at Sunday at 12:01 a.m and would be lifted at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday "in accordance with situational assessments," the army said.

Such closures are common ahead of Israeli holidays, but comes amid a recent uptick in attacks or attempted attacks by Palestinians against Israelis that ended months of relative calm.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a Rosh Hashanah greeting on Sunday, evoking the memory of the late former Prime Minister Shimon Peres who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 93.

"Shimon was a man of vision and optimism," Netanyahu said. "And I think Shimon would want us to celebrate Rosh Hashanah this year by looking back with pride and looking forward with hope."

Peres, one of the architects of the Oslo Acords in the 1990's envisioning an independent Palestinian state, was laid to rest on Friday in a ceremony attended by dozens of world leaders and dignitaries, among them, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"As Shimon was, I am extremely hopeful about our future. Israel will continue working for peace," Netanyahu said.

"We’ll continue expanding opportunity for all our citizens. We’ll continue to be a beacon of light and freedom in a dark and repressive region," he added.

Negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians have been at a standstill since US-brokered talks collapsed in 2014.

Violence since October 2015 has killed 231 Palestinians, 34 Israelis, two Americans, one Jordanian, an Eritrean and a Sudanese national.

Most of the Palestinians killed were carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Others were killed during protests and clashes.

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