Restricting the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank is one of the main tools that Israel uses to enforce the occupation and control the Palestinian population. According to B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories: “Of the many sweeping and arbitrary measures Israel employs, road closures have a particularly broad impact, severely disrupting the lives of many Palestinians.”
Among other things, Israel frequently closes the entrances to various Palestinian communities. This is counter to international law as it constitutes collective punishment of thousands of residents in these and neighboring communities, through arbitrary implementation of the military’s power.
In February and March of 2019, the military closed off the entrances to four villages in the West Bank:
- Deir Nidham, Ramallah District – On February 20, 2019, the military locked the gate it installed in the northern entrance to the village, which leads to Route 465, and almost three weeks later had still not opened it. A week earlier, in mid-February, it barred the southern entrance to the village, which has a military post nearby, with plastic barricades, and this it reopened only on March 4. Since then, the military has opened and closed the southern entrance intermittently and arbitrarily. On March 4 the military also installed permanent gates at two other entrances to the village –the western one, and a route used by farmers which leads eastward towards the village of Deir Abu Mash’al.
- Bruqin and al-Diq, Salfit District – The military locked the northern entrances to the village for 48 hours between February 24-26.
- Al-Fawwar Refugee Camp – The military relocked the gate it had installed at the entrance to the camp, closing it for 48 hours between February 23-25.