West Bank closure count and analysis – OCHA report (Sept. 2006)


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Closure count and analysis

September 2006

This report provides an update on the number of obstacles that form part of the Government of Israel’s system of internal closures within the West Bank.

The closure system is a primary cause of the humanitarian crisis in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It restricts Palestinian access not only to basic services such as health and education, but divides communities from their land and one another, places of work and sites of religious worship..The types of obstacles used to restrict free Palestinian movement include permanent and partially manned checkpoints, roadblocks (consisting of rows of 1-metre concrete blocks), metal gates, earth mounds, earth walls (a long series of earth mounds), trenches, road barriers and an elaborate system of permits. The purpose of these obstacles, as the Israeli Government states, is to protect Israeli citizens from Palestinian militant attacks that have killed around 1,000 Israelis since September 2000.

OCHA field staff collates information about the exact location of each closure with a Global Positioning System (GPS). The information is then integrated into a Geographic Information System (GIS) and used to ‘map’ each obstacle.

Main Findings:

No significant improvement in Palestinian movement has been observed. Closures continue to carve up the West Bank, leading to the isolation of communities, in particular the cities of Nablus, Jerusalem as well as the Jordan Valley.

The fragmentation of the West Bank has been reinforced during the last three months.

The most evident trends including the following:

· The movement of northern governorates and Nablus residents to the rest of the West Bank continues to be restricted heavily;

· Palestinian vehicle traffic have been further excluded from main road arteries used by Israeli traffic by more strategic road blocks and checkpoints leading on to these routes.

· The Jordan Valley has been further isolated with the latest closure and security policies of the IDF;

· Barrier construction increases the amount of agricultural land left in “closed areas” between the Barrier and the Green Line.

As of 20 September 2006, the West Bank closure system comprises 528 checkpoints and physical obstacles placed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) on roads to control and restrict Palestinian movement – representing an increase of almost 2% on the 518 obstacles reported in the June 2006 update.  This latest count represents an 11% increase in the number of physical obstacles erected by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) since the beginning of 2006 and almost 40% since August 2005.



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