The Illusion of Israeli Closures Removal
” The Case of Ras Al Joura Closure – Hebron “

The Illusion of Israeli Closures Removal <br> ” The Case of Ras Al Joura Closure – Hebron “

Introduction:

In the shadow of the mounting Israeli media campaign regarding easing movement for Palestinians, Israeli occupation forces declared the opening of a closure in Hebron to allow access of commercial trucks heading from Tarqumiya terminal to the city of Hebron.

 

The Closure:

The closure is located on By-pass Road 35. It prevented access to the northern parts of the city of Hebron especially in the areas of Ras Al Joura and Halhul Bridge. It consisted of two iron gates, cement blocks and an observation post. A large earthmound was placed in front of the gates from Hebron City’s side in 2002 and was closed ever since.

 

 

The Need to Remove the Closure:

The Tarqumiya Terminal is considered to be the main artery of commercial trucks from, and via, Israel to the West Bank. It receives hundreds of containers (carrying clothes, foods, flour, grains, furniture in addition to fruits and vegetables) on daily basis. That is in addition to hundreds of fuel tanks for Hebron and Bethlehem governorates. Such trucks used to use Wadi Al Quff road as it was the only road connecting between the terminal and the city of Hebron and the rest of the West Bank, However, such a road was too narrow and was not initially designed to accommodate the huge influx of commercial activity, let alone the transport of more than 60,000 Palestinians needing to access Hebron City on daily basis. A number of horrible accidents took place on the Road and claimed a number of lives to the degree that the Governor of Hebron has issued a memorandum prohibiting the usage of the Road by commercial trucks between certain hours. This decision has hampered the marketing of Israeli products in Hebron and the West Bank in general which prompted the Israeli authorities to open the Ras Al Joura closure as an alternative to the unsuitable Wadi Al Quff Road.

 

Conditions and Restrictions:

As per the attached picture, the closure was not totally removed; the gates are still present and only one entrance was opened while the cement blocks were kept on site. Moreover, Israeli occupation authorities have set a number of conditions on the operation of the gates including:

  • The gates will be open between 5:00 AM and 8:00 PM.

  • The gates will only be used by commercial trucks.

  • A presence of Israeli soldiers will be kept to inspect the IDs and vehicle papers which slows down access. 

 

Photo 1: The partially-opened Ras Al Joura closure.

 

 

 

Summary:

 

Despite the fact that the opening of Ras Al Joura closure has come to meet a purely Israeli economical need and despite the conditions set to operate the gates, yet this step has caused a partial relief to the movement of commercial trucks. On the other hand, ever since the closure was partially opened, Israeli soldiers have routinely and daily hampered Palestinian movement through the Halhul Bridge and the Beit Kahil Underpass. Manned checkpoints on these two access points have caused delays for hours at a time for those trying to access employment and service centers in the City of Hebron.

 

 

 

 

 

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* It was observed that Israeli soldiers allow private and public vehicles to access Hebron through the gate between 5:00 Am and 8:00 PM.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared by:
The Land Research Center
LRC

 

Categories: Closure