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Israeli forces may reopen Tulkarem-area checkpoint one day a week

April 14, 2016 1:01 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2016 9:21 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma'an) -- Israeli authorities are considering reopening a checkpoint at the entrance of a village in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem one day week, the Israeli army told Ma’an on Thursday.

“Following situation assessments, starting April 16, the Shufa checkpoint will be opened every Saturday,” an Israeli army spokesperson said. However, the army later clarified that while the issue was "under consideration," it had "still not been finalized."

Palestinian security sources told Ma'an on Tuesday that “the military and civil liaison pressured the Israeli side to open the checkpoint to allow all Palestinians to cross, not only residents of the village.”

They added that Palestinians would be allowed to enter and exit the village and nearby areas.

Israeli forces reported closed the entrance to Shufa in early December, allowing only residents to enter and exit the village after gunshots were allegedly fired at Israeli settlers traveling in a vehicle on a road to the nearby illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz.

Israeli forces had most recently closed the Shufa checkpoint for eight months, from August 2014 to March 2015.

Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.

At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.

Israeli forces have shut down roads to a number of Palestinian towns since the beginning of the year, including the city of Ramallah and the village of Qabatiya, after residents of these areas carried out or allegedly attempted to carry out attacks against Israeli soldiers.

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah denounced in March the Israeli practice of blockading Palestinian towns as amounting to “collective punishment.”

“Ongoing Israeli policies of collective punishment, field executions, and blockading Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps will worsen the security situation in the area,” he said.
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