Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

69 Checkpoints in West Bank Hurdle Movement of Palestinians | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A Palestinian protester hurls stones towards Israeli troops during clashes at the Israeli Hawara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus, October 16, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmad Talat

Hawara checkpoint (Nablus)-At Hawara checkpoint, an Israeli soldier ordered a long line of vehicles to go back from where they came from, without bothering himself to give us a justification for his attitude. Subsequently, hundreds of Palestinians were stranded and deprived from returning to their houses in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Like many, we stood not knowing our destination. The armed soldier, however, stood there watching spoiled settlers’ vehicles pass to settlements knowing that more than 650 settlers reside in 137 settlements in the West Bank.

A convoy headed towards Beita village when suddenly a vehicle appeared. A man in his fifties driving the car waved for others saying “follow me.” They did so for a long distance before he suddenly stopped and informed them he was not sure of the directions anymore.

Just like in the Palestinian case, they could not agree to one opinion and they dispersed in new roads they never tried before. The main target of everyone was to reach the highroad post Hawara checkpoint.

The closure of Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank has become a normal reaction following any shooting, stone-throwing and stabbing. The closure could also be aimed at annoying the Palestinians even if they don’t have clear orders to carry out precise inspection.

“They (settlers) have private streets that we are banned from using; this state is worse than that of South Africa,” said chief negotiator Saeb Erakat. He also accused Israel of trying to replace the two-state solution with a one state of two regimes solution.

A few days earlier, a videotape showed an Israeli soldier at the famous Mafia checkpoint taking the bicycle of eight-year-old Anwar Barqan and throwing it in the bushes just because the girl was riding in what he claimed to be an “Israeli street.”

After an hour and a half we finally reached the highway of Ramallah.