The organization, Women Against the Occupation and for Human Rights, known as Checkpoint Watch, is unable to open its photo exhibit entitled Checkpoints Without Borders.
The Teaching Center in the Israeli town of Beir Aseeba was the intended locale for the exhibit, however the Municipality of Beir Aseeba opposed it, particularly its head Jacob Turner.
The 80-strong photo exhibit was slated to open Sunday in the Teaching Center, all which capture the suffering of Palestinians as they attempt to cross military checkpoints occupied by Israeli forces throughout the West Bank.
The women captured the photographs over the past six years after they launched the Checkpoint Watch project in 2001. Their work involves standing near military checkpoints and document what happens in order to display to Israelis what is happening.
Their multi-purpose project also intended to help end Israel’s restriction of Palestinian movement in the West Bank. At the exhibit the women tried to explain to the visitor what is happening, in addition to showing them videos and photographs, each of which are accompanied by a short explanation.
The photos attempt to draw a complete picture of the situation that two million Palestinians suffering from as they are forced to cross several Israeli checkpoints daily, while also facing closed roads, illegal roads.
The women’s organization considers them to be collective punishment against the Palestinians who are prevented from freedom of movement. In this vein, the women’s organization had made an agreement with the Beir Aseeba Teaching Center to hold the exhibit there, except that the word was leaked to Jacob Turner who refuted such an exhibit being held in a Municipal building.
In response, Women Against the Occupation and for Human Rights, appealed to the Beir Aseeba Central Court. However Judge Neal Hendel refused the request and supported the Municipality’s Zionist point-of-view, so the exhibit was canceled. The women did, however, manage to organize an event regarding checkpoints at the Teaching Center.
At a press conference, activist Hajit Bach, said, “There is no way except to direct ourselves to the Supreme Court to force the Municipality to open the Center to the exhibit based on the right to freedom of expression.”
It is notable that the women’s organization against checkpoints was present in the northwestern West Bank city of Qalqilia, which is surrounded by the Israeli Wall and checkpoints from the beginning of the Intifada. An Israeli officer in charge of one of the checkpoints told them that the policy of checkpoints inside the West Bank is “collective punishment having nothing to do with security.”