Army Indefinitely Bans Palestinians From Leaving Gaza Strip
JERUSALEM (AP) _ The army on Thursday indefinitely banned Palestinians in the occupied Gaza Strip from entering Israel and demanded all Gaza Arabs leave their Israeli jobs and return home.
The order, which takes effect Friday, comes in the wake of a stabbing attack on Tuesday in Jaffa by a Palestinian man from Gaza. The attack left two Israelis dead and 20 wounded.
The army has imposed such restrictions in response to past Arab attacks, or during Jewish holidays. Usually a time limit is given.
The aim of the measure was to reduce the possibily of clashes between Jews and Arabs following the stabbings, said a military source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The restrictions are the first blanket travel ban imposed on Gaza since the Persian Gulf War, when most areas in Gaza and the occupied West Bank were placed under curfew.
The coastal Gaza Strip, dominated by ramshackle refugee camps, was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East War. It is home to 750,000 Palestinians, many of them refugees or descendants of Arabs who fled or were driven from Israel during the 1948 Independence War.
More than 50,000 Gaza Palestinians work in Israel, all of whom must return to Gaza by Friday.
The assailant in Tuesday’s attack, Azri Saleh Reifi, 22, was fatally shot by a policeman at the site. Arab reports said he was avenging the death of his father, Mohammed Saleh Reifi, who died of an illness in an Israeli prison.