Current Issues  
Settlements, Jerusalem, the Security Barrier,
the Right of Return, and more

Occupation: Restriction of Movement

The Occupation
   Taking Control of Land
   Dispossession, Exploitation
   Splitting the West Bank
   Restriction of Movement
      Checkpoints, Closed Rds

   Imposition of Siege
   Beatings & Abuse
   Home Demolitions
   Destruction of olive trees
   Medical Care
   Water Crisis

The Settlements
The Settlements, p2
   Settlers' Violence
   Settlers' Violence, p2

The Separation Wall
It is almost impossible to move people or goods within or out of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). These policies not only isolate and strangle the civilian population, but also devastate the Palestinian economy and weaken Palestinian organizations and institutions.

Israel uses a number of means to restrict Palestinian movement in the West Bank. These means, which are part of a single, coordinated control mechanism, which Israel adjusts to its needs, include the following: permanent and temporary checkpoints, physical obstructions, the Separation Barrier, forbidden roads or roads with restrictions on Palestinian use, and the movement-permit regime.

These restrictions have a devastating effect on the ability of Palestinian residents to live out a normal life—to visit family, to farm agricultural land; to seek medical treatment; to secure employment; to complete one’s education, and to travel freely in one’s own country.

Simple actions such as going to work or visiting relatives entail bureaucratic procedures and great uncertainty. Often, after much effort, the end result is that the army denies the application for a movement permit.

Freedom of movement is crucial because it is a necessity for the exercise of other rights, such as those set forth in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Among these are the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to health, the right to education, and the right to protection of family life.

Israel is entitled to protect itself by employing various measures, including the imposition of restrictions on movement. However, the breadth and duration of the restrictions it has imposed and the resulting grave harm that this policy has caused to the local population in all aspects of life constitute a flagrant breach of Israel’s legal obligations.

Israel’s widespread and prolonged closures, curfews and many other restrictions on movement cannot be justified on security grounds; they discriminate against Palestinians, and are often used as a form of collective punishment in reprisal for attacks committed by Palestinian armed groups.

International human rights law requires Israel to respect the right of residents of the Occupied Territories to move about freely in the occupied territory. This right is recognized in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Furthermore, international humanitarian law requires Israel, in its capacity as the occupier, to ensure the safety and well-being of the local residents, and to maintain, to the extent possible, normal living conditions.

Israel's policy is blatant discrimination based on national origin since these restrictions apply only to Palestinians. Jewish residents are permitted to enter and leave settlements without restriction. The IDF has even explicitly admitted that the restrictions of movement imposed on Palestinians are intended to ensure the free movement of Jews in the Occupied Territories, e.g.:the “Israeli-only bypass roads” that carve up the Palestinian homeland and connect one illegal settlement to another.

Thus, Israel's policy violates the right to equality that is expressed in human rights conventions of which Israel is a party.

See sources for all topics in this section, The Occupation.