The Israeli army announced on Sunday, April 15, that the West Bank as well as the Gaza Strip will be cordoned off from Tuesday, April 16, to Thursday, April 19, to avoid possible security incidents during Israel's 70th anniversary celebrations, which will take place on April 19. This measure will be in effect from Tuesday at 12:01 pm (local time) until Thursday at 23:59 (local time). During this period, Palestinian nationals will be prohibited from entering and exiting the West Bank, except for "humanitarian, medical, and special cases”.
The announcement follows several weeks of demonstrations by Palestinians along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israeli territory. Additional demonstrations, which may turn violent, are likely in the coming days and weeks as the tent city protests are scheduled to continue until May 15.
Large-scale Palestinian demonstrations have recently taken place in the Gaza Strip as part of a six-week tent city protest along the Israel-Gaza border. Dozens of Palestinians have been killed and thousands more reportedly have been injured in clashes with Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel since the protests began on March 30. IDF personnel killed at least one Palestinian and reportedly injured more than 900 others during large demonstrations along the Israel-Gaza border on Friday, April 13. At least 10,000 Palestinians participated in Friday's protests, which were focused around five sites along the border. Smaller, related protests have taken place in the West Bank.
Security across Israel was stepped up considerably in late March in anticipation of a series of sensitive events, including Land Day and Passover. An Israeli general warned on March 28 that the army would open fire on anyone who "dangerously" approached the "no-go" zone along the Israeli border. Additional Israeli troops, including 100 snipers, were deployed to the border area, and the border fence was reinforced.
Individuals present in Israel and the Palestinian Territories are advised to avoid all protests or other public gatherings due to the high risk of violence and to monitor developments in the situation. Due to the underlying terrorist threat, travelers in Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip are advised to report any suspicious objects or behavior to the authorities. Some Western governments advise their citizens against all travel to the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and areas near the Israeli-Lebanese, Israeli-Syrian, and Israeli-Egyptian borders.
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