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Israeli forces impose closures on several Ramallah-area villages and main roads

Dec. 26, 2016 2:29 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 26, 2016 7:37 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces set up multiple checkpoints and imposed closures on several entrances and main roads in and around at least nine Palestinian villages in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh, according to locals.

For the second day in a row, Israeli authorities maintained a closure of two entrances to a main road connecting the Ramallah district to Nablus in the north, as well as the entrance to the Jalazun refugee camp in Ramallah.

On Sunday evening, Israeli forces had installed cement blocks at all three entrances, forcing Palestinians residing in towns in northern and eastern Ramallah to take a longer, alternative route to reach their homes.

Locals told Ma’an on Monday that Israeli forces imposed a closure on the Deir Nidham village northwest of Ramallah with dirt and rock mounds, and installed a permanent checkpoint at the village’s main entrance.

Israeli forces closed a gate on the main road of the village of al-Nabi Salih which leads to several Palestinian villages and towns, forcing residents to travel on foot in order to to pass through the road.

Locals added that Israeli forces conducted searches and interrogations of people passing through the gate.

In the western Ramallah district, Israeli authorities closed the al-Enab road that connects the villages of Ras Karkar and Deir Ibzi to several other villages in the west of Ramallah, forcing citizens to take longer and lower-quality roads.

Additionally, Israeli forces also installed military checkpoints at the entrances of the villages of Umm Safa, Abud, Deir Abu Mashal and Rantis, forcing Palestinian citizens to undergo searches and interrogations while traveling in and out of their villages.

Locals added that Israeli authorities regularly “deliberately makes traffic jams” at the Jabaa checkpoint east of Jerusalem and the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah by stopping vehicles for long periods of time in order to check the ID’s of passengers and drivers.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports of all the closures and checkpoints.

The Jalazun refugee camp in Ramallah and adjacent town of al-Bireh are located next to the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

Earlier on Sunday, an unidentified gunman opened fire from a passing vehicle near the settlement, with no injuries reported, according to the Israeli army.

Israel’s response to attacks and alleged attacks, such as arbitrary detentions and road closures, have been widely condemned by rights groups, who have said such measures amount to “collective punishment” and represent a clear violation of international law.

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