OCHA: Movement restrictions in occupied West Bank affecting 200,000 in #Palestine

[ 10/09/2011 – 11:43 AM ]

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– A fresh report by the UN Organization for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories said that the Israeli occupation authorities set up 522 obstacles (roadblocks, checkpoints, etc.) across the West Bank, marking a four percent increase since a similar report made June 2010.

The report also says that almost no changes were observed in the other components of the system of movement restrictions, including the apartheid wall, the permit and “prior coordination” rules to access the “Seam Zone” or settlement areas, and the closure of areas for military training.

The result of the restrictions, the report notes, is that Palestinians in some 70 villages and communities, with a total population of more than 200,000, are forced to use bypass roads to travel up to five times the length of direct roads between major cities. This in turn has restricted access to basic services.

“Palestinian movement along some of the main traffic arteries in the West Bank, (including Road 60, 90, and 443) has been gradually reduced in past years by means of physical obstacles and administrative restrictions, transforming these roads into rapid ‘corridors’ used by Israeli citizens to commute between the settlements and Israel, and, in some cases, between various areas within Israel via the West Bank.”

The report also says that “Palestinians holding West Bank IDs continued to require special entry permits to access East Jerusalem. Those who obtained an entry permit, were limited to using four of the 16 checkpoints along the Barrier. Overcrowding, along with the multiple layers of checks and security procedures at these checkpoints have made entry into East Jerusalem a long and difficult experience. Restricted access to East Jerusalem has had a particularly negative impact on patients and medical staff trying to reach the six specialized Palestinian hospitals located in the city, as well as on Muslims and Christians wishing to access Jerusalem’s holy sites.”

It went on to note that Al-Khalil city has been greatly affected by movement restrictions.

“The Old City of Hebron (Al-Khalil) is an additional urban area severely affected by movement restrictions. This area is segregated from the rest of the city by 122 closure obstacles (most of them not included in the above mentioned count), while Palestinian movement by car, and in some cases also by foot, remained banned along certain streets. As a result, thousands of Palestinians who abandoned this area in previous years were unable to return; hundreds of shops and businesses have remained closed; and many of those still living in the area have continued to suffer from poor access to basic services.”

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