Female soldiers near Beit El.
Female soldiers near Beit El. Israel news photo: Flash 90

IDF commanders have ordered the closure of part of the old Highway 60, which runs near the Israeli community of Beit El in the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem. The road connects the Arab cities of Ramallah and Shechem, and is used by PA resident drivers.

The decision was made after Arab rioters made life extremely difficult for Jewish families living near the outskirts of Beit El.

Arab riots have been increasingly frequent near the security fence around Beit El. In addition to the suffering caused to civilians in the area, security personnel were concerned that the riots put Israeli residents of the town at risk.

On Sunday, an Arab riot in the area escalated, and local Israelis began to protest over the danger. Later that day Beit El residents, including two city council candidates, met with IDF commanders and asked them to end the riots.

Binyamin Brigade Commander, Colonel Yosef Pinto, agreed to temporarily close the road. The closure was announced Tuesday. IDF personnel did not specify when the closure will end.

The road was closed for a long period of time due to Palestinian Authority terrorism in the “Second Intifada” terror war. It was reopened as part of a series of Israeli “gestures” to the PA aimed at encouraging peace talks.

Earlier this afternoon, a riot was dispersed by police near to the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City as Arab youths hurled stones at police. Two arrests were made.