Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A glimpse into the reality of life for Palestinians

Amira Hass is an Israeli journalist. She compiles below the list of restrictions on movement by all Palestinians living in the West Bank.

The striking thing about this list and the reaction of many to it is that Israel now routinely applies collective punishment to an entire people (restriction of movement, denial of human rights, denial of access to health services and to food). Yet this is of no or little concern to most Israeli and American Jews -- even though one of the most revolting aspects of Nazi oppression of Jews was its pervasive use of collective punishment, and particularly the punishment/killing of innocents. No, no, no...I don't think that what the Israeli Defense Forces is doing to Palestinians is the same as what the Nazis did to Jews (and Gypsies and homosexuals and Russians and...). The IDF is not committing genocide. But so what? Is there really a relativity test to apply to brutality, torture, slow and fast death? I think not.

Impossible travel

by Amira Hass

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)

Standing prohibitions

* 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

* 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.


Periodic prohibitions

* 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


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

Tul Karm-Nablus

Then: half an hour, at the most. Now: At least an hour.

Tul Karm-Ramallah
Then: less than one hour. Now: Two hours.

Beit Ur al-Fawqa-Ramallah
Then: 10 minutes. Now: 45 minutes.

Katana/Beit Anan-Ramallah
Then: 15 minutes. Now: One hour to 90 minutes.

Bir Naballah-Jerusalem
Then: seven minutes. Now: One hour.

Then: five minutes. Now: "Nobody goes to Jerusalem anymore."

1 comment:

Jay said...

What happened in 2000 that could have triggered this?