Friday, April 22, 2005
General Closure On The West Bank
General closure on the West Bank In accordance with a decision by the political echelon and in light of the security assessment, a general closure will be imposed on the WestBank, effective tonight and for the duration of the Passover holiday.
Throughout the duration of the closure humanitarian cases will behandled and approved by the District Coordination and Liaison offices.
So, you're thinking, Jewish Holiday = Palestinian Punishment and you are once again correct. What does the General closure (temporary, but unilaterally enforced and only against the Palestinian people, and not the Jewish settlers in Occupied Palestinian Territory) mean?
An article on Movement restrictions says,
Every city and most towns and villages in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been placed under internal closure during the current intifada. While the internal closure system began as an ad hoc network of checkpoints and blockades, over the last three years it has become increasingly formalised, resulting in a system whereby Palestinians are subjected not only to prolonged delays but also to daily harassment and humiliation.
Starting in May 2002, a new permit system was introduced whereby Palestinians in the West Bank are now required to obtain permits from the Israeli authorities to travel from one city to another. Thousands of teachers, merchants, businesspeople, etc. who reside in places other than where they work have been negatively affected by these restrictions. This has contributed to the destruction of the Palestinian economy. Checkpoints, roadblocks and permit requirements have also impaired the ability of medical personnel as well as the sick and wounded to reach hospitals and clinics resulting in some cases in death. This has particularly been the case for those who are residents of outlying villages. Clearly such movement restrictions have a grave impact on fundamental human rights such as the rights to work, education, and health.
More on closures here and here, where it is written: “It is impossible to overemphasize the catastrophic effect of closure on health care. Given that permission is needed to leave one's village in Jenin district to access the hospital in Jenin, if there's an emergency--a child is wounded; a woman goes into labor--it's too late to apply for permission. You have to take your chances at getting lucky with the soldiers on duty at the checkpoint. Free access to medical care is therefore nonexistent. According to Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committee figures, at least 100 people have died because the Israeli army prevented them from crossing checkpoints to access hospitals. All of this is said to exist for "security reasons," but according to Israeli writer Baruch Kimmerling Ariel Sharon's aim is to finish what he started in Lebanon in 1982--"politicide" (Kimmerling's word) against the Palestinian people, terminating their viability as a political entity. In this view "general closure" and "internal closure" enforce a government policy driven by the desire to retain all the settlements, especially those in the resource-rich West Bank.”