Since 2001 we have observed dozens of army checkpoints on paved and unpaved roads in the West Bank, the Jordan Valley and along the Separation Fence; Civil Administration offices which grant permits to Palestinians; and military courts trying Palestinian prisoners. We stand at the checkpoints observing the behavior of soldiers and Palestinians without interfering, intervening only when soldiers behave offensively to Palestinians. Then we try to speak to the soldiers themselves or telephone...
'Atarot, Ar-Ram, Jaba (Lil), Qalandiya, Rafat (Bir Nabala), Wed 13.1.10, Afternoon
Blocks on Route 60 - Northern Section
We went to see the obstructions that block the villages in Ramallah District from Route 60. Between Hizme Checkpoint and Huwarra Checkpoint Route 60 is still open to Palestinian cars. Some of the villages are blocked off from the road and their only exit for cars is in the direction of Ramallah from the north.
There are more than 3,000 souls living at Ein Yavrud. They have no exit to Route 60 and are blocked by concrete slabs strewn across the connecting road. Travel to Nablus and Ramallah necessitates wide detours.
At Silwad, where 10,000 people live, Route 60 is blocked by an iron arm which was removed a year ago only for two weeks. At Yavrud there is also an earthwork blocking the road. Thus, without fence or wall, these communities are also separated from roads on which Israelis travel, especially settlers from the northern West Bank. The three villages are very close to the settlements of Ofrah and its spread on to Givat Assaf. They of course have free access to the road.
Checkpoint for Israeli vehicles. There are concrete blocks and soldiers to prevent Israelis from reaching A-Ram and Kalandia from the northern side of the separation wall. There is also prohinbition of transit of cars of Palestinian drivers from Jerusalem, who are almost certainly driving to see relatives in A-Ram. In the opposite direction travel is permitted. The arguments and contention that we weren't driving to Ramallah but rather only to Kalandia did not help - we were not allowed to continue to Kalandia Checkpoint which can be approached by Israeli cars only from its southern "Israeli" side.
The supervisor of entry for Israeli cars from Route 443 to Jerusalem is functioning. A fair sized line of cars stretches in the direction of nearby Rafat . Atarot only has to roads connecting to Ramallah.