Hamdan Al Salem has stopped dreaming of leaving the city of Nablus after the hours upon hours has spent waiting at checkpoints dotting the city, creating a lone island called Nablus.
Al Salem began by taking a public taxi with six passengers heading toward Ramallah. He saw a long ling of cars awaiting the mercy of Israeli soldiers occupying the city at a checkpoint south.
It is not new for Nablus, and the northern West Bank city is not alone, but it has been under tight siege, with fixed barriers restricting movement for years now. Israeli forces now will not allow anyone under 35 years old to come or go.
As they are tightening restrictions throughout the city, Israeli forces turned the temporary checkpoint near one of the settlements into a fixed one despite the fact that there already is a permanent checkpoint less than a kilometer away.
The driver calls to passengers traveling to Ramallah to prepare their identity cards and keep them in hand during the entire trip as there are several checkpoints along the route.
A journalist was an hour late to the Press Office in Nablus after being held for an hour at Beit Iba Checkpoint. The press card did not help, and the journalist fears losing his livelihood in the face of the daily obstruction. He pointed out that several of his colleagues suffer the same dilemma.
Eastern Nablus villages, such as Beit Foreik, are living a nightmare due to the rough treatment by Israeli soldiers and the early hours the checkpoint closes daily. President of the Beit Dijan Village Council, Nasser Abu Askari, says that the Israeli soldiers do not concede to the needs of any Palestinians, including the sick and students in difficult circumstances. At times fundamentalist Israeli settlers stand with the soldiers, coming from the nearby Alon Moret Settlement.
Even Legislative Council members do not make it through northern and eastern entrances to the city, particularly Checkpoint 17. Just a month ago Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian driver without cause at the same checkpoint.
Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights research indicates that Israeli forces have targeted Nablus for more than five years, leaving their mark on the reality and life of the city. The Commission pointing out the daily arrest raids, operations, and disruptions of any semblance of daily life.