On Tuesday, the Israeli military establishment declared a total closure of the occupied Palestinian territories, starting from this morning until Sunday.

Israeli media sources reported that in the wake of security assessments, Ehud Barack, the Israeli defense minister, decided that the Israeli military was to seal off the border crossings with Gaza and the West Bank.

The sources cited upcoming celebrations for the Jewish holiday of Purim, as well as Israeli fears of a retaliation attack by the Lebanese Hizbullah party for the assassination of senior Hizbullah leader , Emad Mughaniya, several weeks ago.

Chief of Israeli police, Dudi Cohen, was cited by Israeli media sources as having conducted a large assessment of the situation and having ordered the deployment of his forces in the various Israeli cities and towns.

Closure of the occupied Palestinian territories has been a norm by the Israeli military since the outbreak of the Palestinian-Israeli violence (Intifada) in September2000. Israel often cites security considerations for such a closure.

Since June of last year and in the aftermath of Hamas’ takeover of Gaza, Israel has been imposing a crippling closure of the coastal region, citing the goal of halting Palestinian homemade shells from being fired into nearby Israeli areas.