The Enlargement of the Bet El Checkpoint Connecting Beiten and Ramallah
Violation: Israeli occupation forces continue the closure of the southern and western entrances of the village of Beiten while enlarging the Bet El military checkpoint.
Location: The village of Beitin.
Date: The month of March, 2012.
Israeli occupation forces have been blocking both the suture and western entrances to the village of Beitin for the 11th consecutive years; in the year 2001, these forces closed the main entrance of the village that links the village to the main by-pass Road 60 as a collective punishment. They have also blocked the southern entrance which links the village to the City of Al Bireh which largely affected negatively the lives of more than 2,500 Palestinians living in the village. By so doing, the three-kilometer distance that separates between Beitin and Al Bireh became an 18-kilomter detour that the residents must use in order for them to reach their workstations in Ramallah; Now, the residents have to leave Beitin towards the village of Ein Yabroud, then the village of Dura Al Qara’a, Al Jalazoun Refugee Camp, the village of Surda, the village of Abu Qash then the City of Ramallah. This trip causes both financial and time losses on daily basis to the residents of Beitin in their efforts to provide a decent life to their families and loved ones.
From his part, Mr. Diab Yaseen, the Head of the Beitin’s Village Council, expressed the following to the Land Research Center (LRC)’s field researcher: There are a number of legal cases filed with the Israeli High Court the last of which was filed in October 2011 asking to open the southern entrance. Yet, the Court is dragging its feet on this issue as it basis its reluctance on the “security reason” presented to it by the occupation forces providing protection for the colonists of Bet El. This has led to an increase of poverty in the village and the reduction of its livelihood standards.
It has to be mentioned that the southern entrance of Beitin has been opened since the days of the British Mandate which makes it a historical sign of the village that cannot be changed in accordance with the International Law and the Geneva Conventions. Yet, realities on the ground prove that the High Court is nothing but a tool in the hands of the occupation forces and the colonists.
Enlargement of Bet El Checkpoint:
Not only did the occupation forces continue to close the two entrances of the village, they have already started to enlarge the Bet El checkpoint located on lands of the village of Beitin. This checkpoint connects between the so-called “Civil Administration” and the city of Al Bireh. The checkpoint is manned 24-7 and they close it down between 10 PM and 7 AM.
Pic.2: Bet El military checkpoint.
The enlargement works included the addition of extra lanes leading to the checkpoint and additional military observation towers, leading to the belief that the occupation forces have the intention to continue keeping the physical obstacles in the face of Palestinians and their free movement.
It is located 3 kilometers north of the city of Al Bireh. Its area is about 5400 dunums of which 1,200 dunums are its built-up area. Its population is estimated to be 2,300. More than 1,600 dunums of its lands were confiscated for the purpose of establishing the colony of Bet El. The further expansion of the colony throughout the years caused numerous problems for the Palestinians of Beitin and others in surrounding villages.
Pic.3: The colony of Bet El.
The Land Research Center
The Land Research Center