Humanity Voice - Israel has extended a lock-down on the occupied West Bank



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  Israel has extended a lock-down on the occupied West Bank
humanityvoice - 2010-03-14

Israel extended a lock-down on West Bank

Israel has extended a lock-down on the occupied West Bank and restricted access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem as tensions continue over its plans to build new homes for Jewish settlers in mainly Arab east Jerusalem.
The lock-down, which was due to end on Saturday night, was extended until Tuesday at midnight, because of a continued risk of attacks, an army spokesman said.
The military said people needing to pass for humanitarian reasons, medical workers and patients, religious workers teachers and other professionals would be permitted to cross subject to Israeli authorization.
Israeli police also said access to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem would be restricted to men under 50 on Sunday because of fears of violence.
Police reinforcements deployed around east Jerusalem amid the tensions in the city will remain in place . "It's an irregular move - over a time that's not a Jewish holiday. We haven't seen that happen here for several years ... [and] that has not been met silently by Palestinians, who are not happy about these continued restrictions on their freedom of movement," she said.
"One of the reasons perhaps why these closures are continuing, especially in the Old City, is that over the next three days a series of events and commemorations are taking place by the Jewish community to celebrate the opening of whats called the Hurva synagogue that will be reopened on Monday.

Nour Odeh, Al Jazeera's correspondent in the West Bank, said the extension of the closure will only add to the frustration there and lead to more clashes.
"This closure brings the tension to the surface. There are more soldiers so there is more friction," she said.
On Saturday Israeli troops clashed in the West Bank with Palestinian women and youths protesting against the settlement plans.
Restrictions have been enforced since March 5 when police battled Muslim protesters at the mosque after weekly prayers.
Clashes erupted last week after Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, announced plans to include two sites in the West Bank on a list of Israeli heritage sites.
An announcement from the interior ministry that plans to build 1,600 new Jewish homes in East Jerusalem had been approved also contributed to the tensions.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem after the 1967 war with the Arabs and built settlements that are considered illegal under international law.


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