A WORK IN PROGRESS
“Impossible travel” – by Amira Hass – Haaretz -Â 19 January 2007
All the promises to relax restrictions in the West Bank have obscured the true picture. A few roadblocks have been removed, but the following prohibitions have remained in place. (This information was gathered by Haaretz, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Machsom Watch)
* Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are forbidden to stay in the West Bank.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter East Jerusalem.
* West Bank Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the Jordan Valley.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter villages, lands, towns and neighborhoods along the “seam line” between the separation fence and the Green Line (some 10 percent of the West Bank).
* Palestinians who are not residents of the villages Beit Furik and Beit Dajan in the Nablus area, and Ramadin, south of Hebron, are forbidden entry.
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter the settlements’ area (even if their lands are inside the settlements’ built area).
* Palestinians are forbidden to enter Nablus in a vehicle.
* Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are forbidden to enter area A (Palestinian towns in the West Bank).
* Gaza Strip residents are forbidden to enter the West Bank via the Allenby crossing.
* Palestinians are forbidden to travel abroad via Ben-Gurion Airport.
* Children under age 16 are forbidden to leave Nablus without an original birth certificate and parental escort.
* Palestinians with permits to enter Israel are forbidden to enter through the crossings used by Israelis and tourists.
* Gaza residents are forbidden to establish residency in the West Bank.
* West Bank residents are forbidden to establish residency in the Jordan valley, seam line communities or the villages of Beit Furik and Beit Dajan.
* Palestinians are forbidden to transfer merchandise and cargo through internal West Bank checkpoints.
* Residents of certain parts of the West Bank are forbidden to travel to the rest of the West Bank.
* People of a certain age group – mainly men from the age of 16 to 30, 35 or 40 – are forbidden to leave the areas where they reside (usually Nablus and other cities in the northern West Bank).
* Private cars may not pass the Swahara-Abu Dis checkpoint (which separates the northern and southern West Bank). This was canceled for the first time two weeks ago under the easing of restrictions.
Travel permits required
* A magnetic card (intended for entrance to Israel, but eases the passage through checkpoints within the West Bank).
* A work permit for Israel (the employer must come to the civil administration offices and apply for one).
* A permit for medical treatment in Israel and Palestinian hospitals in East Jerusalem (The applicant must produce an invitation from the hospital, his complete medical background and proof that the treatment he is seeking cannot be provided in the occupied territories).
* A travel permit to pass through Jordan valley checkpoints.
* A merchant’s permit to transfer goods.
* A permit to farm along the seam line requires a form from the land registry office, a title deed, and proof of first-degree relations to the registered property owner.* Entry permit for the seam line (for relatives, medical teams, construction workers, etc. Those with permits must enter and leave via the same crossing even if it is far away or closing early).
* Permits to pass from Gaza, through Israel to the West Bank.
* A birth certificate for children under 16.
* A long-standing resident identity card for those who live in seam-line enclaves.
Checkpoints and barriers
* There were 75 manned checkpoints in the West Bank as of January 9, 2007.
* There are on average 150 mobile checkpoints a week (as of September 2006).
* There are 446 obstacles placed between roads and villages, including concrete cubes, earth ramparts, 88 iron gates and 74 kilometers of fences along main roads.
* There are 83 iron gates along the separation fence, dividing lands from their owners. Only 25 of the gates open occasionally.
* Road 90 (the Jordan Valley thoroughfare)
* Road 60, in the North (from the Shavei Shomron military base, west of Nablus and northward).
* Road 585 along the settlements Hermesh and Dotan.
* Road 557 west from the Taibeh-Tul Karm junction (the Green Line) to Anabta (excluding the residents of Shufa), and east from south of Nablus (the Hawara checkpoint) to the settlement Elon Moreh.
* Road 505, from Zatara (Nablus junction) to Ma’ale Efraim.
* Road 5, from the Barkan junction to the Green Line.
* Road 446, from Dir Balut junction to Road 5 (by the settlements Alei Zahav and Peduel).
* Roads 445 and 463 around the settlement Talmon, Dolev and Nahliel.
* Road 443, from Maccabim-Reut to Givat Ze’ev.
* Streets in the Old City of Hebron.
* Road 60, from the settlement of Otniel southward.
* Road 317, around the south Hebron Hills settlements.
Travel time before 2000 versus today
Then: half an hour, at the most. Now: At least an hour.
Then: less than one hour. Now: Two hours.
Beit Ur al-Fawqa-Ramallah
Then: 10 minutes. Now: 45 minutes.
Then: 15 minutes. Now: One hour to 90 minutes.
Then: seven minutes. Now: One hour.
Then: five minutes. Now: “Nobody goes to Jerusalem anymore.”
GAZA: Erez Terminal Crossing Guide (GANSO – Gaza NGO Safety Office Special report, August09)
- Chicago Tribune AP Interview: Blair says West Bank life must improve at faster pace, asks Israel to ease bans,
Washington Post Blair to AP: West Bank downward spiral halted,
both article-versions by Karin Laub, Associated Press (5 September 2008) – describes details of how growth is still slow largely because of Israeli restrictions, especially on freedom of movement – “… the World Bank said in a report in April that the Palestinian economy won’t grow this year, largely due to Israeli movement restrictions.”.
- Washington Post:
Israel hindering Palestinian aid effort: officials, by Francois Murphy, Reuters (8 July 2008) – This article describes how the checkpoints and border closures interfere with international aid including aid packages directly negotiated with and agreed to by Israel.
- Haaretz Daily News: Stepping out – into danger, by Nadav Shragai (21 May 2008).
This article describes the politicization of hiking by settlers in the West Bank from the settlements into the surrounding hills and wilderness, where the hikers see themselves as stretching out the reach of Israel, while facing attack from Palestinians.
- Washington Times: “Mideast peace prospects” (21 April 2008)
This article emphasizes the importance of stopping settlement expansion and freeing up movement and commerce amongst Palestinian communities as major factors supporting the peace process.
- B’Tselem - “High Court orders opening of road to Palestinian traffic, but army keeps it closed on the Sabbath and forbids pedestrian use at all times” (7 February 2010).
- United Nations – West Bank Movement and Update (November, 2009).
- Gisha - As Military Lawyer Gives False Promise, Bethlehem University Student is Blindfolded, Handcuffed, and Taken to Gaza by Force (29 October 2009), quote – “Gisha is filing an urgent petition to the Israeli Supreme Court today demanding the immediate return to her studies of Berlanty Azzam, 21, a student at Bethlehem University who was arrested and removed to Gaza last night by the Israeli military. The removal took place even as the Military Legal Adviser’s office promised Gisha’s attorney that Berlanty would not be removed to Gaza pending an opportunity to seek judicial review.”.
- Gisha - As the Academic Year Opens in Israel: 838 Students Still Trying to Leave Gaza for Study Abroad (21 October 2009), quote – “Once again, following the start of the academic year at many institutions of higher education around the world, some 838 Palestinian students are still waiting to leave Gaza to study abroad.The students cannot leave due to the Israeli-imposed closure of the Gaza Strip and the rigid criteria for exit via the Erez and Rafah border crossings.”.
- Gisha - Gisha report reveals: Israel Uses Diplomats as “Security Guards” in Gaza Exit (29 June 2009), quote – “Since the summer of 2008, Israel has made the exit of students from Gaza for study abroad conditional on a diplomat escort, including submitting requests to the army and transporting students from the Erez Checkpoint to the Allenby Crossing. Furthermore, Israel also requires diplomatic escort for students wishing to travel to consular offices in east Jerusalem or Ramallah to obtain entry visas to their countries of destination”.
- International Committee of the Red Cross - Life in Hebron: harassment and increasing poverty (17 November 2008), quote – “A Palestinian mother of six talks about her daily life in Hebron as she struggles to make ends meet in the midst of road closures and settler violence. She is one of thousands of vulnerable people receiving monthly food supplies from the ICRC.”.
- International Committee of the Red Cross - Occupied Golan: crossing point opened for pilgrims (8 September 2008), quote – “In the first of a series of journeys due to take place over the coming month, 400 Druze pilgrims living in the Israeli-occupied Golan have crossed into Syria proper with the help of the ICRC.”.
- World Bank - West Bank and Gaza: The Economic Effects of Restricted Access to Land in the West Bank (21 August 2008).
- B’Tselem – Restrictions on Movement (May 2008).
- IRINnews – “ISRAEL-OPT: UN facing increased delays at Israeli checkpoints” (30 April 2008) (news service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
- IRINnews – “ISRAEL-OPT: Movement restrictions limiting benefits of aid impact – World Bank” (28 April 2008) (news service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)
- B’Tselem – Ground to a Halt: Denial of Palestinians’ Freedom of Movement in the West Bank (August 2007).
- Amnesty International – The fight to build a West Bank village school: Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories – Enduring occupation. Palestinians under siege in the West Bank (4 June 2007) – The stringent restrictions on movement imposed on more than two million Palestinians who live in the West Bank are unlawful as they are disproportionate, discriminatory and violate the right to freedom of movement. The restrictions are imposed on all Palestinians because they are Palestinians and in order to benefit the Israeli settlers whose presence violates international law.
- PLO Negotiations Affairs Dept. - Israelâs Roads and Tunnels Plan (October 2005).
- Adalah – SPECIAL REPORT: Movement Restrictions on Sheikh Ra’ed Salah – Ban on Foreign Travel – quote – “Includes Summary of the Case | Related Documents | Press Releases | Ad Campaign Sheikh Raâed Salah is one of the founders of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and is widely respected in the Islamic world as a spiritual leader. Sheikh Raâed Salah served as mayor of Umm al-Fahem from 1989 to 2001, before taking on the leadership of the Islamic Movement in Israel. On 16 February 2002, the Minister of Interior, Eli Yishai, issued an order prohibiting Sheikh Raâed Salah from leaving the country for six months. In the order, Minister Yishai stated that upon review of the GSS recommendations of 15 February 2002, he was convinced that the security of the state would be at risk if Sheikh Raâed Salah travels abroad. Minister Yishai issued this total ban on foreign travel under Article 6 of the Emergency Regulations (Foreign Travel) (1948) (as amended in 1961)”.
- PLO Negotiations Affairs Dept. - Palestinian Movement Restrictions Highlight Israeli Apartheid – quote – “On May 14, 2002, the Israeli Army announced that Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation for the last 35 years now require written Israeli permission to move within the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Under the system, the West Bank is now divided into at least eight isolated, non-contiguous ghettos with control of movement exclusively exercised by the Israeli Army. Movement of goods between Palestinian towns will be subject to a “back-to-back” system – goods will have to be unloaded from incoming trucks and then reloaded into local trucks. This policy, which highlights Israel’s increasingly visible apartheid regime, is illegal under international law and the Oslo Agreements”.
KAWASMI, Hazem: âNew organisation works to improve movement for Palestiniansâ, The Palestinian Telegraph, 15Aug09