Nearly 60 percent of the 96 Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank do not lead to Israel, but rather separate Palestinian cities and towns. Sometimes, checkpoints pop up in response to security incidents, other times there is no explanation at all.
By Ahmad al-Bazz / Activestills.org
Israeli forces sealed the Nablus district and closed the city for 90 minutes on Sunday afternoon, after contact was lost with an Israeli truck driver who was initially feared kidnapped but who resurfaced a short time later.
Soldiers blocked the main three entrances of the West Bank city of Nablus — the Huwwara checkpoint, Beit Furik checkpoint and Beit Iba checkpoint — in addition to a number of gates in surrounding villages. Hundreds of cars full of students and workers were forced to wait on both sides of the checkpoints.
The checkpoints were reopened the Israeli army confirmed that contact had been reestablished with the driver and no incidents had been reported.
This was an extraordinary incident. But Palestinians suffer from checkpoints — especially flying checkpoints that appear without any notice — on a daily basis. Days earlier, Israeli troops closed the only gate to the Palestinian villages of Beit Furik and Beit Dagan, also near Nablus.
There are 96 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank, 57 of which are internal, only 39 of which lead to Israel — the remaining 57 separate Palestinian cities and towns, according to B’Tselem. In April 2015, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) counted 361 flying checkpoints.
In addition to manned checkpoints, the Israeli army has blocked roads with 358 physical barriers in 2014. According to B’Tselem, as of March 2015, there were 60.92 kilometers of roads in the West Bank that Palestinians are forbidden from driving on.