The Israeli authorities state that these measures are necessary for the security of Israeli citizens, both in Israel and those living in settlements in the West Bank. The function of most obstacles, however, is to protect those civilians living as settlers in the West Bank by controlling Palestinians movement onto roads that are primarily used by them.
The number of physical obstacles fluctuates from month to month; some are removed by Palestinians, others are avoided by the development of rough roads around them and new ones are created by the Israeli Defence Forces. The graph below shows the trend in the number of physical closure objects observed by OCHA during the reporting period.
Since April 2007 the changes reported by OCHA include the removal of 80 closures and the creation of 115 additional closures including earth mounds, concrete road bocks and the installation of three new fully-staffed checkpoints.
In October 2007 OCHA reported a total of 5611 closures, a slight decrease compared to the September figure of 563.
The number of flying checkpoints has fallen from 141 on average in a week to 69 in the month of October (a decrease of 48.9 %). For the southern areas of the West Bank this has meant an improvement in movement for Palestinians, however in the northern areas 14 regular flying checkpoints were replaced by two permanent partial checkpoints controlling movement through two key bottlenecks.
1. 8 green line checkpoints have been removed from the OCHA closure count as of September X 2007.
2. According to the 1946 Convention on Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, to which Israel is a signatory, UN premises, archives, documents and vehicles are immune from search.
3. Humanitarian organisations report incidents to OCHA using the Access and Closure Information System. Monthly ACIS reports can be accessed at www.ochaopt.org