Wednesday, September 12, 2007

1 - Stealing your time

Atarot Checkpoint outside Jerusalem, waiting for the gate to open
Watch tower and the apartheid wall destroyint the nice view
In the flying checkpoint, 5 min after Atarot Checkpoint

When I left Jenin on the 27th August I got a lift with 3 journalists to Ramallah. Because they had a sign saying Press in the front window we didn't have any problems at the 4 checkpoints we passed.

In Ramallah I got intom a service (public transport taxi) and we passed through Kalandiya checkpoint which is the main checkpoint to and from Al-Quds (Jerusalem). Before you had to go through the gates by foot but now you can drive through. Sometimes the soldiers stop the vehicle to check the Id:s, and sometimes people have to go out from the car/bus.

We had no problem this time though and continued our travel after 5 minID-check. But on our way into Jerusalem we suddenly came to a road block, 3 big concrete blocks. Some people decided to leave the bus and started to walk.
It was to far away from East Jerusalem, where I wanted to go and the driver took us to Atarot checkpoint instead.
Between 6.15 - 7.05pm I was in the queue, waiting to go throught the checkpoint which included to show your ID and to put all your luggage through a scanner like at the airport. This is every day life for all people who travel to and fro Al-quds beacuse of work, school, family etc.

The bus we got onto was stopped after 5 minutes along the road, 7.10pm.Everybody's ID:a were checked, in case someone unwanted had manage to slip through the checkpoint, or what. At 7.20 we were on road again.

7.40, 5 minutes from the bus station. Soldiers on the pavement stops the bus, all ID:s collected to be taken out of the bus and gone through.

7.50 arrives to Al-quds. If the occupation didn't exist this journey would take about 15-20 minutes.

Israeli Military Forces are stealing people's time and life every day
on a regular basis.

Statistics on checkpoints and roadblocks, www.b'tselem

Permanent internal checkpoints
As of 9 Aug. 2007 Israel maintains 47 permanent checkpoints within the West Bank . Staffing of the checkpoints varies: 35 are staffed around the clock, 11 are staffed only during the day or for part of the day, and there is one back-to-back checkpoint for merchandise. These checkpoints impose the harshest restrictions on movement. Palestinians wanting to cross undergo inspection and often long delays. At some checkpoints, soldiers allow only Palestinians with special permits to cross.

At the end of April 2007, the IDF announced that as of the beginning of May, the restriction on Palestinians entering the Jordan Valley would be removed. In actuality, however, entrance is still restricted at some checkpoints while at others only pedestrians are allowed to enter.

Green Line checkpoints
There are 33 checkpoints that are the last inspection point between the West Bank and Israel . Some of these checkpoints are situated inside the West Bank, up to several kilometers from the Green Line. These checkpoints are permanent and are staffed continuously. In addition, there are 73 gates in the separation barrier, only 38 of which are for Palestinians. These are open only part of the day, and all Palestinians wanting to cross must have a special permit.

Surprise [flying] checkpoints
According to OCHA's figures, in May 2007, there was a weekly average of 200 flying checkpoints throughout the West Bank . These are staffed checkpoints set up for a period of a few hours.

Internal checkpoints in Hebron
checkpoints are located in Hebron in areas where there is friction between settlers and Palestinians. They are permanently staffed, and people who cross are routinely inspected.

Physical obstructions
In addition to the staffed checkpoints, the military has set up hundreds of physical obstructions (concrete blocks, dirt piles, trenches, etc...) which close off roads and prevent access to and from Palestinian communities. OCHA has tabulated the number of such obstacles within the West Bank, as of May 2007, as follows:
217 dirt piles at entrances to villages or to block roads
86 fences along roadways
12 trenches that prevent vehicles from crossing
93 locked gates at entrances to villages, with the keys held by the army
Forbidden Roads
Forty-one sections of roads in the West Bank, covering a distance of some 700 km, are restricted to Palestinian traffic, while Israelis are allowed to travel on them freely.

These figures were updated in 31 May 2007.

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