The closure on the West Bank went into effect yesterday (Monday, April 6) at midnight, and will end on Saturday night (April 18). Below: an enslaved Palestinian.
I took this on March 19, 2009, at the gate by Jouhia (at the Jordan Rift Valley, settlements Ro’i and Beka’ot). The gate is open three times a week: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, in the mornings between 8am and 8:30am, and in the afternoon between 3pm and 3:30. Sometimes soldiers don’t come to open the gate. I can tell, for example, that I was there on March 31, 2009, in the afternoon. The soldiers didn’t come, and the gate remained closed. Children (most of whom are children of nomad shepherds, not nomad anymore due to army restrictions), living on one side of the gate and go to school on the other side of the gate can’t go home every day. Including 6 and 7 year-olds.
Passover is the Jewish festival of freedom.
A siege (Keter or Matzor in Hebrew) is the surrounding of an area and the full or partial prevention of access into or out of it. Nablus, for example, the whole city, the refugee camp and the 15 villages around it, all in all 20 thousand residents, is under such a siege for more than seven years. Entry and exit are possible only through one of the three checkpoints surrounding it (Huwwara, Beit-Iba and Beit-Furik), and only after examination at the entrance and mainly at the exit from it. Other access ways to and from the city have been blocked by concrete blocks, fences, dirt mounds, and iron arms.
During a curfew (‘otzer in Hebrew) leaving one’s house is prohibited. There is a further prohibition on financial activity. A prolonged curfew is collective punishment, and is against international law.
During a closure (Seger in Hebrew), all entry permits to Israel are cancelled. Permits that were issued to residents of the West Bank for the sake of work and medical care. In 2000, during אל אקצה, the whole territories were put under a complete closure. A general closure is when entry is allowed with a permit, usually in the form of a magnetic card. In fact, the West Bank is under this closure since the first Gulf War of 1991. Eventually, and under severe restrictions, Israel began allowing entry for medical and financial purposes. However, following acts of violence, or during Jewish holidays a complete closure is imposed on the West Bank and all permits are cancelled.