2. The above measures take place alongside a process of entrenchment of some of the mechanisms used to control and restrict Palestinian movement. This process, which was elaborated in the latest Movement and Access Update issued by OCHA in May 2009, includes, among other elements, the expansion of the alternative (“fabric of life”) road network and of key permanently staffed checkpoints. While in some cases these measures have eased access, they exact a price from Palestinians in terms of land loss, disruption of traditional routes, and deepening fragmentation of West Bank territory. As a result, they have also contributed to the shrinkage of West Bank land and space available for Palestinian use and development.
3. To date, following the latest changes, there are a total of 613 closure obstacles within the West Bank territory (excluding checkpoints located on the Green Line), which obstruct the internal movement of Palestinians, including access into East Jerusalem. Despite some definitional differences, this figure has been confirmed by the IDF Central Command and OCHA, following detailed crosschecking and a series of joint field trips.
4. Out of the 613 closure obstacles, 68 are permanently staffed checkpoints (five fewer than one month ago). Thirty-eight (38) of these permanently staffed checkpoints are located on West Bank roads, which eventually lead to East Jerusalem and Israel, most of them along the Barrier. The Israeli authorities use these checkpoints to prevent Palestinian access into East Jerusalem and Israel without permits. The location of these checkpoints inside the West Bank, however, blocks Palestinian access to communities and land on the other side of the checkpoint. In addition, there are 522 unstaffed obstacles (19 fewer than one month ago), which include roadblocks, earthmounds, earth walls, road barriers, road gates and trenches, and 23 “partial checkpoints”, which are points of control staffed on an ad-hoc basis.
5. Not included in the 613 figure, but equally important are 84 obstacles blocking Palestinian access and movement within the Israeli controlled area of Hebron City (H2), 63 crossing points along the Barrier, also known as “Barrier gates” which control Palestinian movement into West Bank areas on the west side of the Barrier, and an average of 70 random (“flying”) checkpoints deployed every week since the beginning of 2009.
6. The closure obstacles constitute only one of several layers of a complex system of access restrictions applicable to Palestinians, which include, inter alia, restrictions on the use of main roads, the Barrier and its permit regime, closed military zones and nature reserves, and Israeli settlements and adjacent “buffer zones”.
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
occupied Palestinian territory
P. O. Box 38712
East Jerusalem 91386
Tel. +972 (0)2 582 9962
Fax +972 (0)2 582 5841