IDF increases West Bank roadblocks 3% in last six months, UN says

Next week [26 September], the Quartet will meet at the United Nations in New York. Will they discuss this just-issued UN-OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs report)???

Even the Jerusalem Post writes this: “The IDF has increased the number of West Bank roadblocks by three percent in the last six months, according to a UN report cited by Israel Radio on Sunday. The report stated that there were currently 630 roadblocks in the West Bank, around a third of them manned. It also said that some three fifths of the West Bank security fence had been completed and that 80% of it had been constructed east of the Green Line“. This article can be viewed here.

The full OCHA report can be read here.

The report states:”Overall, the freedom of movement of Palestinians within the West Bank and East Jerusalem remained highly constrained and neither territorial contiguity nor the pre-2000 status quo was restored” [n.b., these are Roadmap requirements] …

OCHA also reports that: “In its latest survey of the West Bank and East Jerusalem on September 2008, OCHA observed 630 obstacles blocking Palestinian movement, including 93 staffed [n.b., this is a rather dry and bureaucratic description — these “staffers” hold weapons in their hands, and sometimes, even when things are quiet, and they are bored, they even point them at people] and 537 unstaffed obstacles (earthmounds, roadblocks, barriers, etc.). This figure represents a net increase of 3.3%, or 20 obstacles, compared to the figure reported at the end of the previous reporting figure on 29 April 2008″[n.b., since the Annapolis process began]. This total does not include 69 obstacles in the Israeli-controlled section of Hebron City (H-2), nor 8 checkpoints located on the Green Line [n.b., why not?]. Additionally, the weekly average of random (‘flying’) checkpoints increased by about 10% compared to the first four months of 2008 (85 vs. 77)”.

The report continues: “The number of obstacles at any one time is indicative of the access situation, but does not capture the full picture of the system of obstacles and restrictions. There is a whole range of measures including the Barrier [n.b. while I appreciate the capital B here, why does OCHA not call it The Wall, to follow the example set by the UN’s highest judicial organ, the International Court of Justice?], restricted roads, permit system, age and gender restrictions, and closed areas, which layered upon each other, consolidate into a comprehensive system fragmenting the West Bank and East Jerusalem”.

OCHA continues, very drily,: “The Barrier plays a very significant role in this system … separating Palestinians from their land and creating enclaves isolated to some extent from the rest of the West … During the reporting period the GOI [Government of Israel] continued investing in transportation infrastructure throughout the West Bank [n.b. territory that the GOI occupies, and to which it does not hold title …] An Israeli military expert estimated the cost of constructed and planned and ‘fabric of life roads’ and Barrier gates at 2 billion NIS. Extensive works were also being carried out to expand and renovate key checkpoints…”

In the last paragraph of this report, OCHA says that “In reflecting on more than seven years of restrictions, what was once a short-term Israeli military response to violent confrontations and attacks on Israeli civilians has developed into an entrenched multi-layered system of obstacles and restrictions, fragmenting the West Bank territory and affecting the freedom of movement of the entire Palestinian population and its economy. This system is transforming the geographical reality of the West Bank and Jerusalem towards a more permanent territorial fragmentation”.

So, where is Condoleezza Rice? Where is UNSG BAN Ki-Moon? Where is Tony Blair?

Military Zone - anyone entering or damaging the fence endangers his life

And, shall I just remind you that my residential neighborhood, full of lovely houses and gardens and where the World Bank has its offices and where there are two prestigious private schools, and which is now officially or unoffically annexed to Jerusalem by The Wall [or what OCHA calls a Barrier], is still a “MILITARY ZONE” [NOT closed, or operational, or anything like that — just a military zone] where “ANYONE WHO ENTERS — or damages the fence [SIC !] — ENDANGERS HIS LIFE”.

And, therefore, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that the CHECKPOINT is still there — and not only that, it has changed from one to three lanes, and the lines are longer than ever, and it usually takes 25 minutes to pass through — under gun point, of course.

UPDATE: There are hardly ever fewer than ten to twenty cars waiting to get through this checkpoint at any given time, day or night. Today, there were huge trucks waiting in line — and trucks were never before allowed to pass through the checkpoint going in the direction of downtown Jerusalem. And, there were three extremely rude and bad drivers who cut in line in places ahead of me, as I waited nearly 35 minutes to get through this afternoon. I called Smolik, a checkpoint liaison person with the Border Police who has sometimes helped before. At least, he’s someone to register a complaint with — the worst thing is to feel so much at the mercy of this awful situation, with no procedures that are clear (except total and unconditional submission), and no redress. So, complaining to Smolik makes it seem as if one is regaining a little bit of dignity in one’s life, even if it rarely ever results in any improvement. He said today, however, that he was unaware that all kinds of other traffic was now passing through this checkpoint — he said he thought it was still just for the residents of this area!!

One thought on “IDF increases West Bank roadblocks 3% in last six months, UN says”

  1. Mahmoud abbas’s PhD was about the relation of the Zionest movement with the Nazi movement back in Germany, discussed in Moscow.

    I wonder if in such times it is permissible to think of a similar thesis…. The Relationship between the government of the Jewish people and the government of the Palestinian people.

    A very useful thing Palestinians can do is to learn survival lessons from the jewish people back in Europe, because the jewish people could make it after all despite all the Nazi will to destroy them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *