Feature: ‘Checkpoints; different shapes, locations, same suffering’

December 10, 2004 4:30 AM IMEMC & Agencies Human Interest, Miscellaneous, Palestine 0

Translated by Saed Bannoura, IMEMC

Checkpoints spread all over the Palestinian areas, separating the cities, villages and refugee camps from each other, and generate daily events and stories of continuous suffering and humiliation.

In spite of efforts carried out by the Israeli government to simplify and “decorate” the real cruel nature of these checkpoints, yet they remain one of the daily hardships the Palestinians have to go through on daily basis.

The Israeli Ministry of Defense claimed that it will implement new procedures to ease restrictions imposed over the Palestinian areas, but reality remains; checkpoints remain and therefore daily humiliation and hardships increase.

The Israeli media recently published several reports about checkpoints, and ways to reduce direct contact between the soldiers and Palestinians.

Latest Israeli reports said that the ministry of defense is weighing the possibility of replacing the soldiers on these checkpoints with employees from the ministry, while soldiers “will only be present for security related issues”, according to Israeli sources.

Army commanders in Israel “complained” that soldiers on checkpoints are “consumed”, and in many cases desperate and bored after spending long periods on these checkpoints.

The Israeli security establishment said that civil guards, who graduated from military colleges, will be present on these checkpoints, in addition to high security officials who used to work in airports.

“On the first stage, these units will hold responsibility of securing the areas adjacent to the separation wall”, Israeli security source said.

Looking at the situation on the ground, Israel increased the number of checkpoints separating the Palestinian areas from each other, closed the entrances of the Palestinian cities, villages and refugee camps, and broke the geographical unity of the Palestinian areas.

The Palestinians, amidst these “thoughts, ideas and suggestions”, have to face these checkpoints, they have to deal and choose between crossing through the checkpoints amidst all sorts of humiliation and strict procedures, or to walk through the fields and hills and expose themselves to the danger of being spotted and shot by Israeli soldiers.

The checkpoints became a new source of death, arrest and humiliation, and new but old addition to their suffering.

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