Israel closes off West Bank ahead of Arab protests

By Diaa Hadid

Associated Press

Published: Friday, March 30 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Israeli soldiers stand on the border fence between Majdal Shams in the Golan Heights, and Syria, as security is tightened ahead of Land Day, Thursday, March 29, 2012. March 30 is traditionally marked by Israeli Arabs as "Land Day," a time of protests against the confiscation of Arab-owned lands by Israel. In recent years, Palestinians have joined in.

Hamad Almakt) ISRAEL OUT, Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Israel's military has closed off the West Bank as Palestinians and Arabs prepare for protests throughout the region against what they say are discriminatory Israeli land policies.

Thousands of troops and police have been deployed in anticipation of possible violence on Friday.

The military says the closure is "in accordance with security assessments."

It means Palestinians in the West Bank can't enter Israel, unless it's for humanitarian reasons.

The Land Day march is an annual protest marked by Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Supporters in neighboring Arab countries are also planning marches near Israel's borders in a solidarity event.

Last year similar demonstrations turned deadly.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere