Types of checkpoints in the West Bank | Machsomwatch

Types of movement restrictions

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Checkpoints and barriers in the West Bank

"End” checkpoints, or “border crossings” 

Checkpoints just before entering Israel. Those serve the Palestinian for various life needs: work, health, family ties, worship, etc. Crossing these checkpoints requires being issued a suitable permit, one of 100 types and more (!) in a complicated and at times hopeless process, described in the Bureaucratic Maze of the Occupation. These checkpoints are crossed every morning by more than 100.000  Palestinian workers whom Israel needs. Numerous checkpoints are physically distant from the concentrations of Palestinian population in the West Bank and require that they travel back and forth daily, at exorbitant expense. Often they must spend long hours waiting in crowded lines at the checkpoints, whose planning did not consider human needs (neglect, narrow inhuman passages, exhausting access tracks), in addition to the added humiliation of harassment per se.


Internal checkpoints

These are checkpoints and barriers placed on roads, sometimes at the entrances and exits from villages and towns throughout the West Bank. Some are always manned, others on occasion. They prevent passage between communities that are located near each other or create obstacles in accessing the West Bank’s main roads, nearby settler-colonies or areas declared nature reserves and out of bounds for Palestinians.



Agricultural checkpoints

Between the Separation Barrier and the ‘green line’, large privately-owned Palestinian areas were left outside the fence. These are the enclaves of the seamline zone, including many farmlands disconnected from their owners. Only about one-third of these agricultural checkpoints are active all year round. They are opened twice or three times a week at best, for 15 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon. Others require coordination ahead of time. During the olive harvest (about one month) entrance permits are more easily issued and the gatesinfo-icon are opened every day. There is not much consideration of the farmers’ needs to share the workload with family members, and re-issuing of permits usually happens at the very last moment, if at all. The occupier’s intention is obvious: make it difficult for landowners to access their lands, and eventually cause  them to desert them.

Read about the complex permit regime in the seam zone

'Flying' checkpoints

Their location changes arbitrarily according to the ‘security’ situation, or as unexplained collective punishment. An army jeep can block a side road, spikes are spread across the entrance to a certain village, giant concrete blocks force drivers to slow down, and more.

Permanent roadblocks

Concrete blocks, earthworks and rocks, iron arms and also ditches dug along the side of the road, separating communities and villages from the main road, or blocking dirt roads that connect villages to the agricultural areas of their residents.



Abuse barriers

Settlers ambush Palestinian farmers and prevent them from accessing their lands, at times forcibly taking their sacks of harvested olives at the end of a day’s work. In the dark, they harm the harvest and the trees themselves, butting down and burning them, while the Israeli army refrains from intervening.