Checkpoint in Beit Ummar (image from

The military authorities that rule the Palestinian Territories (West Bank and Gaza) under martial law ordered a closure of all parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip from the evening of March 6th through Wednesday March 8th, while Jewish Israelis celebrate the religious feast of Purim.

Although most Palestinians (apart from the Samaritans who reside in the northern West Bank) do not celebrate Purim, their lives are severely disrupted during this and every Jewish holiday, when the Israeli military authorities, which control every aspect of Palestinians’ lives, close the Palestinian areas and enforce strict security protocols.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the Purim holiday originated from a misunderstanding in 500 BC, when rumors spread that the King of Persia, Ahasuerus, wanted to massacre Jews – but these rumors never came to pass, and instead, Jewish people living in Persia were given permission to massacre their self-declared enemies. “Haman, chief minister of King Ahasuerus, incensed that Mordecai, a Jew, held him in disdain and refused obeisance, convinced King Ahasuerus that the Jews living under Persian rule were rebellious and should be slaughtered. With the king’s consent, Haman set a date for the execution (the 13th day of the month of Adar) by casting lots and built a gallows for Mordecai. When rumors of the planned massacre reached Esther, beloved Jewish queen of Ahasuerus and adopted daughter of Mordecai, she risked her life by going uninvited to the king to suggest a banquet that Haman would attend. At the meal she pleaded for the Jews and accused ‘this wicked Haman’ of plotting the annihilation of her people. Upset, the king stepped out into the palace gardens. On returning, he found Haman ‘falling on the couch where Esther was.’ The king mistook Haman’s frantic pleas for mercy as an attack upon the queen. The outraged king ordered that Haman be hanged and that Mordecai be named to his position. Esther and Mordecai then obtained a royal edict allowing Jews throughout the empire to attack their enemies on Adar 13. After an exhilarating victory, they declared the following day a holiday and (alluding to the lots Haman had cast) named it Purim.”

The security establishment in Israel decided on Sunday evening to impose a closure on the West Bank and Gaza Strip, on the occasion of the Hebrew “Purim” holiday.

This closure affects Palestinian workers, trying to get to their jobs but being prevented by closed checkpoints, students unable to attend school, and all Palestinians trying to live their daily lives.

According to Israeli media, the closure will start Monday, at midnight, and last through Wednesday.