Restrictions on movement in oPt today

Movement and access within the oPt is restricted by a combination of physical obstacles - for example, checkpoints, roadblocks and gates - and by bureaucratic constraints, such as permits and access restricted areas. This multi-layered system impacts the flow of both persons and goods into the Gaza Strip; between Gaza and the West Bank; within the West Bank itself and into East Jerusalem from the remainder of the oPt. These restrictions also impact access to services - health, education, housing and food - on the part of the beneficiary population, in addition to limiting the capacity of those local and international organizations who deliver assistance to the most vulnerable populations. In the West Bank, the application of movement and access restrictions is discriminatory, targeting mostly Palestinian residents, for the benefit of the Israeli settler population. Ultimately, restrictions on access to land and water resources undermines the presence of Palestinians, particularly in Area C of the West Bank.
Palestinian access between the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been gradually reduced to the point of allowing the movement of people only in rare humanitarian cases, and the movement of goods to meet only minimal humanitarian needs. This is despite an undertaking in the Oslo Accords, committing Israel to recognize the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as a ‘single territorial unit’ where freedom of movement was allowed between the two parts.

In the West Bank, the government of Israel set up an extensive system of physical and bureaucratic obstacles to restrict Palestinian movement within the West Bank, including construction of the Barrier, which began in 2002. Although in the period 2008-2010, the Israeli authorities implemented a number of relaxation measures within the West Bank, by the end of 2011, there were 529 physical obstacles obstructing Palestinian movement.

This system continues to hinder the access of the Palestinian population to livelihoods and basic services, including health, employment, education and water supply. As a result of all types of movement restrictions, there are some 70 villages and communities in the West Bank, with a combined population of nearly 200,000, compelled to use detours that are between two to five times longer than the direct route to the closest city.

Access to East Jerusalem remains highly restricted, as non-Jerusalem Palestinians are required to obtain permits to enter the city, and can only enter the city by through four of the 16 checkpoints functioning along the Barrier.

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