Israeli Army blocks entry to Ramallah for non-residents

Israeli Army says it blocked entry to West Bank city of Ramallah for non-residents after alleged shooting attack previous day

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli army gathered around the body of a dead Palestinian at the scene of an alleged shooting attack at an Israeli military checkpoint near the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on January 31, 2016.

Israeli Army said on Monday that it blocked an entry for non-residents to the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, after three Israelis were injured in an alleged shooting attack, which took place in the Beit El settlement north of Ramallah.

A Palestinian was shot dead in the incident, after allegedly opening fire on a group of Israelis near a Jewish-only settlement in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

"In accordance with situation assessments following yesterday's shooting attack in Beit El, security measures have been taken in the area and only residents of Ramallah are allowed to enter the city," a military spokeswoman said.

The measure applied to foreigners as well, she added.

The spokeswoman said that a decision on when to lift the measure would depend on security assessments.

Vehicles were being allowed to enter through at least one road, after being searched, with a long line of cars waiting to pass through.

A large number of Palestinians, aid workers and diplomats commute to Ramallah for work on a daily basis.

The continued construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem - which both came under Israeli occupation following the Six-Day war in 1967 - often raises tensions between Israelis and Palestinians, and last year resulted in the breaking-off of peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said last week that Washington is strongly against further settlement plans by the Israeli government.

"Steps aimed at advancing the Israeli settlement program ... are fundamentally incompatible with the two-state solution and raise legitimate questions about Israel's long-term intentions," Power told the council.

In recent months, protests against the ongoing Israeli occupation have increased in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.

Since October more than 165 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, while about 25 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians during the same period.

Palestinians say the recent violence is the result of frustration from nearly half-a-century of occupation and they accuse Israel of using excessive force to suppress the unrest, while Israel says the unrest has been caused by a provocation surrounding the holy site of Al Aqsa Mosque compound.

Palestinian authorities say the younger generation have no hope for their future living under tight Israeli security measures.