After the Israeli authorities closed the road leading to villages in northwestern Jerusalem, the new route for 50,000 Palestinians includes 10 kilometers of bumpy road via Beit Hanina. Mousa Baudoin takes rough roads and passes several checkpoints and roadblocks in order to access his place of work in Jerusalem.!– @page { size: 21.59cm 27.94cm; margin: 2cm } P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm } —


Baduoin describes the maze. “Everyday I leave at 6:15 a.m., taking a car that carries us to Ramallah and then back to Beit Hanina Al Balad for a link to the northwestern villages."

He said, "This route is dominated by dug-up dirt roads, water, scraps of asphalt and stones that have born the brunt of tens of years. These are the same roads the Jordanian army used to transfer supplies to the northwestern villages of Biddu, Beit Surik, Beit Iksa, An Nabi Samwil, Beit 'Anan, Beit Ijza, Qatanna, Beit Duqqu and Beit 'Anan parallel to the Green Line.”

The 32 year old professional continued to tell PNN, “The taxi goes slowly, shaking to the right and left, until another car comes from the opposite direction and it takes at least five minutes to shimmy past each other. Each stone, each mound, is a hindrance.” Badouin points out that cars often stop altogether after being damaged by stones underneath, which is why he uses public transportation and not his own car.

Eight months have passed since this road of stone became the forced route for the population of nine northwestern Jerusalem villages. That was the time that the Israeli administration separated the settlers on the bypass roads in the vicinity of Jerusalem, when driving on the four major routes toward Ramallah became illegal for Palestinians.

The Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ) reported in 2006 that the Israelis built 795 meters of bypass roads to connect Israeli settlements to each other and to isolate Palestinian towns from each other.

The Ramot Military Barrier has separated the northwestern villages from downtown East Jerusalem for seven years and it reroutes the way to Ramallah. Badouin says, “Sometimes we are delayed at the Ramot Checkpoint during the process of inspections. Most of the time the occupation soldiers detain dozens of citizens, for more than an hour in some cases, under the pretext of checking identities, while Israeli cars speed through to the Givat Ze'ev Settlement on the road we used until eight months ago.”

The term “bypass road” came into common usage after Oslo in September 1993. There are three types, one of which is only for Israelis, another allows Palestinians but with restrictions issued by the Israeli Civil Administration, and the third type Palestinians can use but they are subjected to checkpoints throughout.

Badouin must also use Ramallah's Qalandiya Checkpoint, another major stop along the way in his commute. This is not just the only route to Jerusalem, it is also now the only way to move between the north and the south of the West Bank. He said, “We are waiting sometimes more than an hour at the Qalandiya Checkpoint because the holders of West Bank identification and cars, workers, students, use it to go to Jerusalem. Then we hit flying checkpoints on the road in Beit Hanina and Shu'fat Refugee Camp.”

Along these streets, amid barriers and the Wall, is the route for Badouin and thousands of other Palestinians whose fates are unknown on a daily basis as they navigate a seemingly endless stream of soldiers, settlers and bad roads.