Israeli Authorities Tighten Siege on Palestinian Territories

12 March 2001


Since coming to power five days ago, the new Israeli government headed by Ariel Sharon has tightened the arbitrary siege imposed on Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps since 29 September 2000. In the early hours of Sunday 11 March, Israeli forces deployed large numbers of troops and armored vehicles on the roads between Palestinian towns, blocking them with large concrete blocks and barricades and thus severely impeding the movement of Palestinians from one place to another. The new Israeli apartheid-style policy isolates Palestinian populations centers, effectively placing the people into geographical prisons as well as depriving them of the right to education, movement, medical care and work. Siege measures On Sunday morning Israeli forces placed Ramallah under intensive military siege. A military checkpoint was positioned near Jerusalem International Airport, blocking movement to Ramallah from the south. The blockade on the northern road leading to the West Bank city was also tightened, with the overall effect of isolating the central West Bank town and severing the southern and northern parts of the West Bank from the center. The twin cities Ramallah and Al Bireh connect to the rest of the West Bank through the following main roads: · The Ramallah - Birzeit road: This road connects Ramallah with nine surrounding villages: Surda, Abu Kash, Birzeit, Jipia, Burham, Al Mazra’a Al Gharbiya, Abu Shkaidim, Kober and Jifna. Israeli forces blocked the road with huge barricades and dug two deep trenches in it. Two Israeli tanks and a number of military jeeps now monitor the blocked road, and a barricade has been placed on the road linking Birzeit to Atara. The road between Birzeit and Um Safa has also been blocked by means of barricades and trenches dug in the middle of it. Israeli forces have dug a trench in the road linking the Bani Zeid villages (Al Nabi Salih, Beit Reema, Deir Gasani, Kufur Ain and Karawat Bani Zeid) with Birzeit. The road leading to the West Bank villages of Deir Nitham, Deir Abu Mish’al, Aboud, Shukba, Al Liban Al Gharbi and Rantees has also been blocked. The Palestinian village of Um Safa has been isolated form the surrounding villages of Ajoul, Deir Al Sudan, Mazarie Al Nubani and Arura. · Al Bireh - Nablus road: Huge concrete blocks have been placed in the middle of this road at Beitin junction (near the City Inn Hotel). This road links Al Bireh with Beitin, Ain Yabroud, Silwad, Al Mizra’a Al Sharkiyi, Deir Jareer, Kufur Malik, Deir Dibwan, Yabroud, Ramoon and Al Taybeh. A trench was dug in the middle of the road near the entrance to Jalazone refugee camp, and barricades were placed near Wadi Al Balat and Eyun Al Haramiyi, crippling the movement to and from Sinjil, Jilijliya, Obwain, Ain Sinia and Dura Al Kari’a. · Ramallah - Betunia road: This road links the twin cities with the following 14 surrounding villages: Ain Areek, Deir Bzai’a, Kufur Ni’ma, Bal’ een, Al Janyi, Ras Karkar, Deir Amar, Beitello, Jamala, Kharbatha Bani Hareth, Al Midya, Shibteen, Kbaibi and Budrus. Israeli forces have blocked this road with tanks, trenches and barricades. · Ramallah-Jerusalem road: This road is blocked by a constant military checkpoint and concrete blocks at the Sameer Amees junction, in addition to the new checkpoint near Jerusalem International Airport. Moreover, branch roads linking Qalandia and Al Ram with the main road have been blocked with barricades. · Israeli forces erected a military outpost near the Palestinian village of Jaba’a, blocking the Wadi Al Nar road leading to Bethlehem and Hebron. 25 year-old Mahmoud Nijim and 23 year-old Yusif Al Hawash from Al Ram told LAW that Israeli forces blocked the bridge that connects Jaba’a with Al Ram. Israeli forces have also blocked the bypass road in Dahyit Al Bareed with huge concrete blocks, placing barricades on the roads in the Nsaibi quarter of occupied Jerusalem and deploying troops on the city roads in the French Hill, Sheikh Jarah, Wadi Al Jooz, Beit Hanina and Shu’fat. They also placed military checkpoints on the roads leading to Anata, Shu’fat refugee camp and the Old City. The roads leading to the northern and western parts of Nablus near Deir Sharaf and Kawseen junction have been sealed off with concrete blocks and barricades. The same roads also link Nablus with Jenin and Tulkarem as well as eight other Palestinian villages (Deir Sharaf, Al Nakura, Sabastia, Burka, Ajinsinia, Nisf Jbail, Beit Amreen and Yaseed). The roads linking Nablus to Ramallah, Jericho and Salfeet as well as twenty-two villages in the Nablus district have also been sealed off by concrete blocks. Israeli forces have completely isolated Tulkarem from neighboring Palestinian towns such as Qalqilia and Jenin, as well as blocking the branch roads leading to the city and erecting a watchtower on the lands of Sabri Salman from Rameen. In Qalqilia, Israeli forces closed the eastern road connecting the city to Ameteen and Nablus. An army patrol constantly searches the area and a helicopter gunship frequently hovers in the sky. In Jenin, Israeli forces have placed a large barricade on the Nablus - Jenin road, which has also isolated 17 nearby Palestinian villages from the city. They also erected a huge barricade on the road connecting Jenin to Fahma and Ya’abad, as well as installing an iron gate and digging a 15 meter wide trench on the road to Nazareth. The trench isolates Arana, Al Jalami, Aba, Beit Kad Al Shamali, Beit Kad Al Janubi, Fakua’a, Deir Abu D’eif and Jalboun from the city. They have dug a kilometer-long, 2 meter deep and 1.5 meter wide trench around Talmoon, as well as a 350 meter long trench around Tayaseer to isolate the area from the agricultural land and the district of Tubas and Bisan in the Green Line. In Hebron, the siege was made even tighter as Israeli forces blocked all roads leading to the city. More troops have been deployed in the city and in the checkpoints and outposts. According to LAW Society’s documentation, Israeli forces have created eleven new checkpoints, fourteen barricades, nineteen military watchtowers and eleven military outposts around Hebron. The measure made movement for the population of nineteen villages in the Hebron district virtually impossible. The tightening of the siege has devastated the following environs of Hebron: North Hebron Israeli forces have blocked the main roads leading to Halhoul and Jerusalem with two huge barricades and military outposts. They also placed military watchtowers near the Karmi Tsur settlement near Halhoul, and a military checkpoint has also been placed on the road to Beit Umar and Sureef. East Hebron The roads in the eastern part of the Hebron district leading to Sa’eer, Shyukh, Shyukh Al Aroob, Beit Ainoon, Hai Al Baqa’a and Bani Na’eem have been blocked with barricades and concrete blocks. South Hebron The road to Yata has been blocked with concrete blocks, barricades and military checkpoints, severing Yata from its surrounding villages of Kura Al Rihiyi and Al Hijri and Tawani. West Hebron Israeli forces blocked the roads connecting Hebron to Ithna, Beit Kahil, Tarkumia, Nuba, Kharas, Al Taybeh and Beit Aula with barricades and checkpoints. Moreover, the occupied part of Hebron (population 45,000) is still subject to frequent curfew and its roads have been sealed with concrete blocks and checkpoints. Bethlehem Seven villages west of Bethlehem have now been isolated, and the road to Beit Jala and Al Khader has been blocked with barricades and concrete blocks. More troops and military hardware have been deployed to the area, isolating Al Arkob, Nahaleen, Husan, Bateer, Wadi Foakeen, Al Jiba’a and Al Walaji. The Israeli forces have also blocked the roads connecting Bethlehem to Jerusalem. A devastating siege · The tight siege of Ramallah and Al Bireh crippled the movement in and out of the twin cities. Large numbers of students, teachers, businesspeople, laborers, lawyers and doctors were prevented from entering the cities. Abdul Nasir Arif (40) from Al Nakura in Nablus, a manager at the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, told LAW that an Israeli patrol has placed a checkpoint on the Alon road east of the Palestinian village of Al Mghayir, forcing commuters from Nablus to turn around. Maher Al Masri, the Palestinian Minister of Economy and Trade, told WAFA (the official Palestinian news agency) that he had tried many roads to Ramallah from Nablus but had failed to reach his office. The siege also prevented LAW Society staff living in the northern West Bank from reaching our offices; while those who live in Ramallah had to walk across the barricades and checkpoints in order to reach work. Taxi drivers Mahmoud Yusif (31) and Isa Zayid (37) from Ramallah told LAW that Israeli soldiers have been chasing Palestinian vehicles as they approach the military checkpoints in an attempt to terrorise the drivers. · The siege is costing Palestinians devastating losses of income. Taxi drivers on the Ramallah - Al Ram road have complained of up to 70% loss in revenue due to the siege. Randa Aruri (25) an accountant from Ramallah, stated to LAW that before the siege it took her only 30 minutes to reach in Al Ram but now the trip to the office in the morning takes more than 1 hour and 45 minutes. Workers from Atara, Jalazone and Birzeit who work in Al Ram told LAW that it took them more than one and a half hours to reach Al Ram from Ramallah. LAW researchers noticed that Israeli troops at the checkpoint near Jerusalem International Airport are deliberately delaying Palestinian vehicles by carrying out tortuously long inspections of ID cards. · According to the Ministry of Education, the siege today prevented 91,500 students and 4,530 teachers from getting to their schools in the Ramallah district. The curfew in Hebron prevented 13,000 students from arriving at their schools. 60% of Palestinian teachers were prevented from arriving at their schools by Israeli troops enforcing the siege. · Sources at Al Makasid Hospital stated that the tight Israeli siege prevented 17 doctors and nurses from arriving at the hospital on Monday. LAW reiterates the following: The Israeli siege violates the right to freedom of movement The international conventions and treaties on human rights consider the right to movement a basic human right. Article 23 of the 1949 IV Geneva Convention states, “Each High Contracting Party shall allow the free passage of all consignments of medical and hospital stores and objects necessary for religious worship intended only for civilians of another High Contracting Party, even if the later is its adversary.” Article 55 of the same Convention stipulates, “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the sources of the occupied territory are inadequate.” Article 13 of the International Declaration of Human Rights confirms “(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.” Article 12 of the 1966 International Convention on Civil and Political Rights states: “1. 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. 2. Everyone shall be free to leave any country, including his own. 3. The above-mentioned rights shall not be subject to any restrictions except those which are provided by law, are necessary to protect national security, public order (ordre public), public health or morals or the rights and freedoms of others and are consistent with the other rights recognized in the present Covenant. 4. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of the right to enter his own country.” Violating the right to freedom of movement is one of the collective punishments imposed by the occupation authority over Palestinian civilians. Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention states that: “Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”

LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment is a non-governmental organisation dedicated to preserving human rights through legal advocacy. LAW is affiliate to the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), Fédération Internationale des Ligues de Droits de l'Homme (FIDH), World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and Member of the Euro- Mediterranean Human Rights Network.




Rapporti di LAW - The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights

Palestinian dies in Military Intelligence custody in Nablus