In a controversial move that has ignited a storm of criticism, the Israeli occupation have decided to shutter all checkpoints leading to lands occupied by Israel during the Jewish New Year. As tensions surge, Palestinians find themselves at the center of this alarming storm, facing not only religious disputes but also grave economic consequences.
The Israeli occupation, as confirmed by the official Israeli radio Kan, will enforce these restrictions starting from noon this Friday, coinciding with the commencement of the Jewish New Year celebrations, and will persist until Saturday night. These closures are not isolated incidents; they are part of a broader strategy expected to continue through the Yom Kippur and Sukkot holidays throughout October.
Unsurprisingly, Palestinians are crying foul, labeling these actions as not only discriminatory but also a severe blow to their already fragile economy. In a strongly-worded statement, Palestinian officials slammed the Israeli occupation for exploiting religious festivities as a smokescreen for their colonial ambitions. They argue that such tactics are meant to manipulate global opinion while inflicting significant harm on their people, both economically and socially.
Concerns Over Al-Aqsa Mosque
But that’s not all. The ominous backdrop to this move is the mounting concern among Palestinians about calls from extremist Jewish groups and officials urging intensified activities at Al-Aqsa Mosque during the upcoming Jewish holidays. This development has sent shivers down the spines of Palestinians, who fear any alteration to the sacred status quo at Al-Aqsa, revered as a purely Muslim holy site. The 144-dunum walled compound has always been a hotbed of religious and political tensions.
Adding fuel to the fire, the Israeli occupation have already issued orders barring dozens of Palestinian activists in occupied Jerusalem from accessing the Al-Aqsa compound in the weeks to come. This has only fueled suspicions that these actions are designed to pave the way for unrestricted access for Jewish fanatics and settlers to this holy Muslim site during the Jewish holidays.
As tensions mount, Palestinians continue to voice their grievances, accusing the Israeli occupation of pursuing religiously motivated and harmful policies. The closures, combined with fears of potential provocations at Al-Aqsa Mosque, have exacerbated Palestinian suffering.