'Israeli restrictions create isolated enclaves in West Bank'

Amira Hass reports from Palestine.

''The regime of restriction on movement imposed by Israel on the Palestinians has crumbled the West Bank into dozens of closed or partially closed enclaves isolated from each other despite their geographical proximity. Permanent and mobile checkpoints, along with physical barriers of various kinds, fenced-off main roads, limitations on Palestinian traffic on east-west and north-south arteries, have cut off direct transportational links between areas of the West Bank. Thus, a new geographic, social and economic reality has emerged in the West Bank. Hundreds of exits from Palestinian communities to main and regional roads are blocked. Traffic among the enclaves is directed to secondary roads and a small number of main roads passing through Israel Defense Force-controlled bottle-necks. Entry to the Jordan Valley, Palestinian East Jerusalem and to enclaves between the separation fence and the Green Line is barred to all Palestinians except those registered as residents of those areas. To enter such areas, special authorization to "non-residents" must be obtained, which is rarely given.
Palestinians are not allowed to drive their cars between the northern and southern West Bank (through the Abu Dis checkpoint east of Jerusalem). Private vehicular traffic to and from Nablus is prohibited. Passage by car through the Qalandiyah checkpoint north of Jerusalem is limited to bearers of Jerusalem residency cards, in cars with Israeli license plates. At the Zaatara checkpoint south of Nablus entry is frequently denied to all south-bound residents of the northern West Bank as part of the IDF "differentiation" policy.''

...''The economist Hisham Awartani believes that limitations of Palestinian traffic has raised the cost of the transport of goods and raw materials five-fold. The relay of goods back-to-back in Nablus and Ramallah, long waits at internal checkpoints and travel on poor, bumpy roads damages goods and agricultural produce.''

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Since March 29th 2006