Since the beginning of the second Intifada in 2000, “Israel has set up hundreds of fixed and mobile checkpoints that isolate Palestinian communities from each other, prevent them from communicating and impede the movement of citizens”, writes a Palestinian journalist on the site Daraj.
Most of these checkpoints are equipped with surveillance cameras, military towers, watchtowers, iron gates and spaces for searching Palestinians and their vehicles. And that’s not counting the 142 kilometer wall separating the West Bank from Israel.
For Nazmi Qabha, a 68-year-old Palestinian, it is “collective punishment measures” causing long queues and, therefore, delays for Palestinians going to university or working.
60 million working hours lost per year
In a study from 2018 quoted by Darajthe United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA or Ocha) counted 705 “permanent barriers” throughout the West Bank. Among these more than 700 “obstacles”there were notably 165 road gates, 149 embankments and 140 dams.
The Lebanese media cites another study by a Palestinian NGO, the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (Arij), published in 2019 and which attempted to quantify the economic and environmental consequences of these restrictions imposed on the Palestinians.
The numbers are irrevocable. Because of Israeli checkpoints, Palestinians in the West Bank lose around 60 million working hours a year, the equivalent of $270 million a year. Furthermore, Arij estimates that residents of the West Bank consume an additional 80 million liters of fuel, equivalent to the emission of 196,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.