An investigation by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs OCHAoPt carried out in January / February 2020 counted 108 fully or occasionally manned military checkpoints, most of them not as border posts between Israel and Palestine, and numerous mobile, spontaneous checkpoints (“flying checkpoints “), as well as 593 other obstacles such as concrete blocks, earth walls, blocked roads and the construction of the fence / wall (85% on Palestinian territory with the result that approx. 9.4% of the Palestinian territory from the West Bank incl. Jerusalem are separated) and partially prevent access of the Palestinians to their land, jobs, schools, universities, hospitals and other medical facilities.
In June 2020 64% (approx. 454 km) of the separation system was completed, 36% (approx. 256 km) under construction or in the planning stage. For a long time there has been little construction activity, partly for financial and legal reasons and due to a lack of pressure from Israeli society.
In the densely populated areas the system consists of a concrete wall up to 9 meters high with watchtowers (approx. 61 km), in the less densely populated areas an electronic fence with paths and ditches on both sides was built.
According to LOCALTIMEZONE, the situation is particularly difficult in the areas of the West Bank that lie between the Green Line and the separation system on the “Israeli side” and are separated from the rest of the West Bank by a fence or wall. They can only reach their workplaces, health and educational institutions, grocery stores, friends and family members through gates or checkpoints that are often only open a few hours a day. Palestinians 16 and over need a permit to continue to be there. Doctors or family members can only visit residents of these areas with a permit.
Like the settler roads, nature reserves, Israeli settlements, military facilities and other security-relevant areas, these zones belong to the C area. Overall, it makes up about 60% of the West Bank. The 300,000 or so Palestinians there live under very difficult conditions, because Israel is responsible for planning and building control in addition to internal security. In 70% of the C area the Palestinians are strictly forbidden to build and in a further 29% building activities for Palestinians are severely restricted. Only in 1% of the C area, the Israeli civil administration allows the Palestinians to develop, but this area is almost fully developed. Building permits – which affect not only buildings but also water pipes, for example – are as good as not granted. If Palestinians build on their own land anyway, there is a risk that these structures will be torn down by the Israeli army. According to B’Tselem, 111 residential units and 263 non-residential buildings and infrastructure were destroyed from January to the end of October 2020 and 458 people were left homeless, including 228 minors. The residents of Susiya, south of Hebron, among others, are at risk of displacement. 86 municipal structures have demolition orders including 32 living tents and huts.
On July 4, 2018, the Israeli army began the destruction of the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, including a school built with Italian support that teaches around 170 children between the ages of six and 14 from five different Bedouin communities. The village is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem around two kilometers south of the settlement of Kfar Adumin in the West Bank. During protests 35 people were injured and 13 people detained against the eviction. The residents are said to be forcibly relocated to the edge of a garbage dump near Abu Dis. At the end of May 2018, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the destruction of Khan al-Ahmar was legal because the Bedouins had built the village without the necessary building permits. However, building permits are almost impossible to get in the C area.
If the Jewish-Israeli settlement was expanded to the area where the village of Khan al-Ahmar is now located, the West Bank would be cut through by a continuous block of settlements, divided into north and south, making it much more difficult to implement a two-state solution.
Palestinians who live in the West Bank and have agricultural land beyond the separation facility are also in a difficult situation. You need a permit to enter your country. For security reasons or because you cannot prove a connection to the country, we often withhold it from you. Those who receive a permit cannot usually stay in their fields as long as they want or as long as it is necessary, but have to return home in the evening before the gate closes. Only a few, mostly shepherds, have permission to stay on the other side of the separation complex overnight.
According to the Israeli human rights organization Peace Now, there are also 132 “official” Israeli settlements in the West Bank, in which 441,600 settlers live in 2019, and 124 so-called “outposts” with around 4,000 residents, all of which are illegal under international law. In addition, there are more than 208,000 settlers in twelve settlements in East Jerusalem. The three largest settlements are Modiin Ilit with more than 70,000 residents, Beitar Ilit with more than 54,000 residents and Ma’ale Adumim with more than 37,000 residents. According to the Israeli peace organization Peace Now, the number of settlers has more than tripled since the beginning of the Oslo peace process in late 1993. And settlement construction continues unchecked.
On June 20, 2017, construction began on the Amichai settlement for the residents of the evacuated Amona outpost in the area of the village of Yaloud in the Nablus administrative district. It is the first new settlement officially created by Israel in more than 20 years.
On September 15, 2019, the Israeli government approved the conversion of the Mevo’ot Yericho outpost into an official settlement. This increased the total number of Israeli settlements that have emerged since the Oslo peace process to six.
According to Peace Now, construction began on 1,917 new housing units in Israeli settlements in 2019, more than 10% of them (195 units) in illegal outposts, 110 units in the Jordan Valley. 11 new settlement outposts were set up and work on 8,457 residential units in 58 settlements continued. Tenders were also published for 1,761 residential units (956 in the West Bank and 805 in East Jerusalem).
The confiscation and possession of land, water and other resources for the benefit of Israeli settlers since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in June 1967 has devastated the fundamental rights of the Palestinians. The situation is particularly difficult in the Jordan Valley and in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip on land, sea and in the air, which was intensified after Hamas came to power in June 2007 and supported by Egypt, is making life difficult for the approximately 2 million residents of the coastal strip. This isolation has yet by the measures to contain the pandemic Corona tightened.
Traffic in Palestine relies entirely on motor vehicles. Roads connecting Palestinian towns were badly neglected during the occupation and are often in poor condition. There are also modern, well-developed expressways in the West Bank that connect the Israeli settlements with each other and with Israel, which may be used primarily or exclusively by Israelis. Certain streets are not even allowed to be crossed by Palestinians. When Palestinians come to a closed road, they must get out of the car or bus they came in, cross the road on foot, and then find a new vehicle to continue their journey.
The only airport in Palestine, Yasser Arafat International Airport in the Gaza Strip, was closed after it opened in late 1998 after the Second Intifada of Israel began. In December 2001 and January 2002, the Israeli army tore open the airport runway.
The largest cities in the West Bank are Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah / Al-Bireh, Salfit, Tubas, Tulkarem, Qalqilya, Jenin, Yatta, Bethlehem, Beit Jala, Beit Sahour and Jericho. In the Gaza Strip, the largest cities are Gaza City, Khan Younis, Rafah and Jabalyah. More than 341,500 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem.