The natural water spring of ‘Ein Fera’a, one the largest in western Hebron governorate, is the sole source of water for a herding community carrying the same name that moved close to the spring some 30 years ago. The residents comprise about 11 households with about 80 people in total, all registered refugees. They rely on the spring for domestic water consumption and for watering their livestock, which is their prime source of livelihood. The landowner of the spring, a resident of the nearby town of Dura, also uses the water for irrigating the adjacent land, where he grows seasonal vegetables and crops. On hot summer days and when there are water shortages, he also pumps water from the underground pool to sell to families in Dura.
Since 2008, the Israeli authorities have introduced aged-based criteria during the month of Ramadan that allow Palestinians holding West Bank ID cards to access Al Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem for Friday prayers in lieu of the normal permit requirements. The criteria differ slightly every year but in 2013, 2015 and 2016 all Palestinian women, irrespective of age, were allowed to enter East Jerusalem for Friday prayers. In 2016, access for men was limited to males under 12 and above 45 years of age.
The allocation of public land to settlements and the takeover of private land by settler groups have reduced the space available for Palestinians to sustain their livelihoods in an increasingly fragmented West Bank and have impacted on a range of human rights. Combined with the unlawful and discriminatory zoning and planning policy applied in Area C and in East Jerusalem, these settlement-related phenomena have undermined the living conditions of Palestinians and rendered them increasingly vulnerable, including to the risk of individual or mass forcible transfer.
Israel restricts Palestinian movement within the oPt, including between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, through a combination of physical obstacles, bureaucratic constraints, and the designation of areas as restricted or closed. Combined, these restrictions impede access to services and resources, disrupt family and social life and undermine Palestinians’ enjoyment of their economic, social and cultural rights, undermine livelihoods and compound the fragmentation of the oPt.
Jerusalem, 1 April 2016 - Today, humanitarian and development actors, including UN agencies, are joining thousands of Palestinian and international runners in the annual Palestine Marathon, taking place in the city of Bethlehem in support of Palestinians’ right to liberty of movement.
A rapid survey carried out by OCHA during the last week of 2015 found that since the escalation in violence in October 2015, Israeli security forces have deployed 91 new obstacles (checkpoints, roadblocks, earth mounds, etc.) on West Bank roads to restrict Palestinian vehicular movement. This figure includes only those obstacles involving some kind of fixed infrastructure on the ground, thus excluding ad-hoc “flying” checkpoints (see table and map below). These obstacles are in addition to 452 pre-existing obstacles, representing a 20 per cent increase in their overall number.