On Saturday March 25 Israeli military placed a notice at the Kalandia checkpoint announcing that from March 27, 2006 only holders of a permit to enter Israel will be allowed to cross the checkpoint to the West Bank village of Al Ramm.
By restricting Palestinian access in this way, the Israelis have effectively annexed the village minus its West Bank residents to Israel. cutting it off from the rest of the West Bank. The restriction will also cement the illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem.
The Kalandia checkpoint is flanked on both sides by the annexation Wall. Olmert’s Kadima party has admitted that the Wall is not a temporary security measure as Israel originally claimed but will be Israel’s “permanent border”.
Monday, Qalandia checkpoint to be transformed into a border crossing
As Israel goes on with its expansion plans to annex most of the areas in the West Bank, the Israeli Radio announced on Sunday that starting from Monday, the Qalandia checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Ramallah will be transformed into an border crossing separating the West Bank from Jerusalem.
The crossing named by Israel as Atarot Crossing will bar the residents of of Dahiat Al Bareed and Al Ram areas, north of Jerusalem, from entering the city unless they pass through special gates which were installed in the area, but they will be allowed to travel to Ramallah.
Palestinian chief negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said that transforming the Qalandia checkpoint into a crossing will intensify the closure of the occupied territories and will cause more restrictions on the movement of the residents.
“The step will increase the suffering of our people”, Erekat said, “The Wall and checkpoints transformed our cities and villages into big prisons”.
Qalandia checkpoint, installed on the main road between Jerusalem and Ramallah, is considered a main crossing that separates northern West Bank areas from Jerusalem and from the rest of the Palestinian areas.
The Israeli decision came after Israel completed the construction of the annexation Wall in the north of Jerusalem, and comes amidst recent statements of the acting Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, regarding a further unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank and drawing the Israeli borders without negotiating with the Palestinians.
The annexation Wall installed near Qalandia checkpoint is five meters high and separates several suburbs in Jerusalem from each other.
A recent human rights report prepared and published by the UN revealed that the number of checkpoints installed in several West Bank areas until the end of January 2006 arrived to 471 in comparison to 376 checkpoints in August 2005.