The withdrawal of the Israeli Occupation Forces out of Area A from Bethlehem District

The withdrawal of the Israeli Occupation Forces out of Area A from Bethlehem District


On the second of July, 2003, the Israeli army declared its withdrawal out of area A from Bethlehem district. This act should be clarified as the re-introduction of the Palestinian National Authority police into the area. On the ground, there were no perceptible signs of withdrawal because most of the roadblocks in the city remain ubiquitous; 47 roadblocks, checkpoints and earth-mounts are still isolating the eastern and the western rural areas from the main city-Bethlehem. The opening of some roadblocks and checkpoints was achieved in some locations but it does not count the mass media coverage which has given by the Israeli side. See Photo 1, 2 and Photo 3.


Two vital roads in the district were opened only; one in Beit Jala and it is considered the main road connecting the western rural areas with the main cities. However, the road block in Beit Jala that is known as the DCO-district Cooperation Office road, was opened daily from 6:00 a.m till 7:00 p.m. Palestinians villagers from the western rural areas are still restricted from using the main road and they have to come on foot in order to cross the earth mount erected on the main entrance to their way home. See Photo 4 


The second main road opened in Beit Sahour, is the one leading to Wadi Al-Nar road; the only passage connecting the southern districts with the northern ones within the West Bank. The Palestinian vehicles can pass now towards the north heading Ramallah city but before doing so, a special permit should be obtained from the Israeli authority, See Photo 5 .


One kilometer away from the place where the roadblock was removed, an Israeli checkpoint has been erected; number of Israeli soldiers, an iron gate and a sniper tower are in the view. See Photo 6



The following map shows clearly the closure of Bethlehem district and provides data about the  numbers of Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks in the district. See Map.


Meanwhile, the fierce campaign of land confiscation for the erection of the Segregation Wall and the ongoing work to erect the so called 'The Jerusalem Envelop ' is still under intensive construction.

In addition, the main road (road 60), which connects Bethlehem and Hebron districts is still closed for Palestinians use for more than 2 years, See Photo 7.


Palestinians are obliged to use alternative roads running into cultivated fields and mountainous areas in order to reach their destination. It is worth mentioning here this road is opened only for Israeli settlers.

To conclude, the partial withdrawal of the Israeli Occupational Forces from Bethlehem district remains countless unless all roadblocks and earth mounts are removed and freedom of movement are restored to Palestinians. In the mean time,the Israeli peace dripping policy will not lead to a real commitment towards the common understanding achieved lately between the two parties of the conflict and the fact remains that very little has  changed on the ground.

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Prepared by:  
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Checkpoints