Know More About Palestine

Wednesday March 2, 2011 2:32 PM (EST+7)

Israelzzz*zs use of checkpoints, identity cards, permits and border crossings has led to a growing trend of "closure" in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Policies related to these measures result in the isolation of Palestinian towns and villages from each other ("internal closure"), the isolation of the West Bank from the Gaza Strip and visa versa, and the isolation of Palestinians from the outside world.


The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that "Everyone lawfully within the territory of a State shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence."

The Oslo agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization states in Annex 1, Article 10, "There shall be a safe passage connecting the West Bank with the Gaza Strip for movement of persons, vehicles and goods, as detailed in this Article."

Later accords recognize the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip as "one territorial unit" and made provisions for a safe passageway that briefly operated over land. Nevertheless, the tightening of the checkpoint regime has gradually severed contacts between the occupied areas since the early 1990s.

The military checkpoint regime divides the West Bank into separate zones, restricting movement from one region to the other in varying degrees.

At the same time, in the Oslo years, Israel developed a separate high-speed road system connecting Israeli settlers in the occupied territories with their jobs and families in Israel. (Gaza, too, had separate roadways for Israeli access until Israeli forces removed all troops and settlers in August 2005.)

This system impedes Palestinians’ access to family, work, and recreation outside their immediate surroundings. But it also has a crippling effect on the Palestinian economy.

For instance, Palestinian exporters pay twice the transportation costs of their Israeli counterparts and are unable to promise their clients regular and prompt delivery. Prior to the second Palestinian uprising, 22 percent of Palestinians worked in Israel. That number decreased to nine percent by 2003. In fact, Israeli policies sought to completely eliminate Palestinian guest laborers in Israel by the end of 2008.

The World Bank has named Israelzzz*zs “closure” policy as a “key factor” in the radical escalation of Palestinian poverty.

According to a World Bank trucking survey conducted in 2008, the new crossings are an additional layer of restrictions over and above the internal restrictions and thus add to the costs and delays faced by Palestinian shippers.


After a visit to the Gaza Strip, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon urged immediate easing of the closure, describing conditions at the crossings into Gaza as "intolerable" at a March 2009 conference in Cairo.

Until 2006, Gaza was under a checkpoint regime similar to that in the West Bank. But after armed Palestinians captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, Israel carried out operation Summer Rains and closed Gazazzz*zs entry and exit points to the outside world.

The closure of Gaza restricts Gazanzzz*zs access to all manner of goods, medicines, medical care, education, and other


When the Israeli government began construction of the Wall on June 16, 2002, it cited security concerns due to previous attacks emanating from West Bank. It also promised that the construction of this barrier would reduce the number of checkpoints and road blocks within the territory leading to freer movement for Palestinians residing in West Bank cities.

However, the intrusive route of the Wall beyond the Green Line means the creation of more mechanisms of "closure." By creating closed enclaves between the Wall and the Green Line, as well as a new crossings regime, the Wall further closes Palestinians off from their land and other economic opportunities.







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