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Israel’s brutal military occupation continues to crush West Bank Palestinians

12 37 0
18.05.2019

During the 1967 Six Day War, the West Bank and East Jerusalem were occupied by Israel. Fifty-two years later this brutal military occupation remains in place, with the West Bank’s almost three million Palestinian residents subjected to a maze of military checkpoints, attacks by illegal Israeli settlers and a lack of access to resources.

So what is life like for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem? Here are 12 things you should know.

This article is part of our series on Eurovision 2019. See more here.

Israel decided to build the Separation Wall in 2002, during the Second Intifada. Israeli NGO B’Tselem notes that, to date, “The route of the barrier — including the sections already built, those under construction and those awaiting construction – is 712 kilometres long.” Eighty-five per cent of the Wall cuts deep into the West Bank, ignoring the Green (1949 Armistice) Line and encircling Israel’s illegal settlement blocs to keep them “inside” Israel.

The Separation Wall divides Palestinians from one another. Several neighbourhoods which belong to the Jerusalem Municipality have been severed from the rest of the city by the Wall; Shu’afat refugee camp, east of Sheikh Jarrah, and Kafr ‘Aqab, near Qalandia checkpoint, are two prominent examples.

Another example is Qalqiliya, west of Nablus, which is almost completely surrounded by the Separation Wall. Furthermore, two out of three of Qalqiliya’s checkpoints are closed to Palestinians. Meanwhile, in Bethlehem – where street artist Banksy famously opened the Walled Off Hotel – a house belonging to the Anastas family is entirely surrounded by the colossal concrete structure.

READ: NGO exposes Eurovision goers to Israel occupation

As a result of the Separation Wall, members of many Palestinian families are physically separated from one another. Yet according to a February 2019 report by human rights organisation Al-Haq, a number of legal barriers to family reunification also exist.

Al-Haq cites Israel’s 2003 “Nationality and Entry into Israel Law” — which “clearly targets Palestinians living in East Jerusalem” and plays on their status as “permanent residents”, but not citizens, of Israel – as just one example. The NGO explains:

[quote] “As ‘permanent residents’, Palestinians from East Jerusalem have to continually prove that their ‘centre of life’ is in the city, or they could have their ID revoked by Israel […] Palestinians from East Jerusalem who choose to marry a spouse with a West Bank or Gaza ID are likely only able to live with them and maintain their ID by living in Jerusalem neighbourhoods on the eastern side of the [Separation] Wall, i.e. separated from the city centre.”

Since 1967, over 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency revoked by Israel on these grounds.

READ: Israel blocks Palestinian family reunification hearings over ‘workload’

Israel maintains a system of checkpoints that can be closed at any time, preventing Palestinians from travelling to school, hospital or work, or to access their land.

In a July 2018 survey, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt) recorded that there are “705 permanent obstacles across the West Bank restricting or controlling Palestinian vehicular, and in some cases pedestrian, movement.”

Israel also runs a system of “flying checkpoints” which can disrupt travel at a moment’s notice.........

© Middle East Monitor