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200408 Forbidden Roads Eng | Israel And The Apartheid Analogy | West Bank

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B ' T S E L E M ®Æ¯ÆÚ©†ÌÈÁˢ·†Ì„‡‰†˙ÂÈÂÎÊφÈχ¯˘È‰†Ú„ÈÓ‰†Êίӆ≠†Ìψ· B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories Information Sheet A u g u s t 2 0 0 4 Forbidden Roads Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regime in the West Bank B’TSELEM Information Sheet August 2004 Forbidden Roads Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regime in the West Bank 8 Hata’asiya St. (4th Floor) P.O. Box 53132 Jerusalem 91531 Tel: 02-6735599 Fax: 02-6749111 mail@btselem.org www.btselem.
  Forbidden Roads Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regime in the West Bank  August 2004 B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center forHuman Rights in the Occupied Territories ®Æ¯ÆÚ©†ÌÈÁˢ·†Ì„‡‰†˙ÂÈÂÎÊφÈχ¯˘È‰†Ú„ÈÓ‰†Êίӆ≠†Ìψ· B'TSELEM Information Sheet   1 Forbidden Roads Israel’s Discriminatory Road Regimein the West Bank B’TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for HumanRights in the Occupied Territories  was founded in 1989 by agroup of lawyers, authors, academics, journalists, and Members of Knesset. B’Tselem documents human rights abuses in the Occupied Territories and brings them to the attention of policymakers andthe general public. Its data are based on independent fieldwork andresearch, official sources, the media, and data from Palestinian andIsraeli human rights organizations. B’TSELEM Information Sheet August 2004 8 Hata’asiya St. (4th Floor)P.O. Box 53132 Jerusalem 91531 Tel: 02-6735599 Fax: 02-6749111mail @ btselem.org www.btselem.org  3 On 23 March 2004, the day after theassassination of Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin,the Israeli media reported that the IDF hadimposed a total closure on the OccupiedTerritories and a siege on cities in the WestBank. Such reports, which regularly appearin the Israeli media, paint a misleading pictureof the reality in the West Bank. Accordingto the reports, the severe restrictions on themovement of Palestinians are a response toa particular event or threat. The reality isaltogether different. The sweeping restrictionsare largely permanent, and have been for sometime. They are only marginally affected by thedefense establishment’s assessment of the levelof security threats at any given time.This report deals with one of the primary,albeit lesser known, components of Israel’s policy of restricting Palestinian movementin the Occupied Territories: restrictions and prohibitions on Palestinian travel along certainroads in the West Bank. This phenomenonis referred to in the report as the “ForbiddenRoads Regime.” The regime, based on the principle of separation through discrimination, bears striking similarities to the racist apartheidregime that existed in South Africa until 1994.In the roads regime operated by Israel, the rightof every person to travel in the West Bank is based on his or her national srcin.The roads regime that Israel operates in theWest Bank differs from the policies of SouthAfrican apartheid in at least one important way.While every last detail of the apartheid systemwas formulated in legislation, the roads regimein the West Bank has never been put on paper,neither in military legislation nor in any officialdecision. Implementation of the regime by IDFsoldiers and Border Police officers is basedsolely on verbal orders given to the securityforces. Therefore, enforcement of the roadsregime entails a greater degree of arbitrarinessthan was the case with the regime that existedin South Africa.In an attempt to justify its policy, Israel contendsthat the restrictions on Palestinian travel alongthese roads result from imperative securityconsiderations and not from racist motives.Indeed, since the outbreak of the intifada inSeptember 2000, there has been an alarmingincrease in the number of attacks by Palestinianorganizations against Israeli civilians insideIsrael and in the Occupied Territories. Morethan 600 Israeli civilians, including over100 minors, have been killed. Attacks aimedat civilians violate all standards of lawand morality, and constitute war crimes ininternational humanitarian law. The attacks areunjustifiable, regardless of the circumstances. Not only is Israel entitled to take action todefend its citizens against such attacks, it isrequired to do so. However, its actions mustcomply with Israeli and international law.The Forbidden Roads Regime is based onthe premise that all Palestinians are securityrisks and therefore it is justifiable to restricttheir movement. This is a racist premise thatled to a policy that indiscriminately harms theentire Palestinian population, in violation of itshuman rights and of international law.The Forbidden Roads Regime was designed inaccord with the geopolitical division established Introduction  4 in the Oslo Agreements. Palestinians may generally travel in Areas A and B, in whichcertain governmental powers were transferredto the Palestinian Authority. In Area C, whichremains under sole Israeli authority, Israelrestricts Palestinian travel, and on some of the roads Palestinian travel is completely prohibited. Israeli civilians are allowed totravel without restriction in Area C. In Area B,restrictions are occasionally placed on travel by Israeli civilians, and Israeli civilians arecompletely forbidden to enter Area A (exceptfor unusual cases). It should be noted that the prohibition on entry of Israelis to Area A and parts of Area B is incorporated in militaryorders. As mentioned, the prohibitions onPalestinian movement are not set forth inmilitary orders. 1 Israeli officials contend that this arrangementis a reasonable solution, “that is intended to prevent excessive friction between Palestiniansand Israelis.” 2 However, a careful look at the“Oslo map” exposes the discriminatory andharmful basis on which the policy is based.Areas A and B constitute dozens of islandsseparated by a sea defined as Area C. Theredeployment of IDF forces in 2000, pursuantto the Wye Memorandum, created elevenseparate blocks defined as Area A (comprisingeighteen percent of the West Bank), some 120separate blocks defined as Area B (comprisingtwenty-two percent of the West Bank), and onecontiguous block, which is defined as AreaC and covers about sixty percent of the WestBank. Palestinians who want to go from onePalestinian block to another must cross AreaC, which is subject to the Forbidden RoadsRegime. Israelis, on the other hand, can movefreely between the settlements and into Israel,without having to enter Areas A or B.Chapter One of this report briefly describesthe integral relationship between the paving of roads in the West Bank and the establishment of the settlements. The chapter also discusses thelegal means Israel used to gain control over theland on which it built these roads.Chapter Two presents the findings of B’Tselem’sresearch regarding the elements comprising theForbidden Roads Regime. This chapter hasfour parts: 1) a description of the means usedto enforce the regime; 2) a classification of the roads into three categories based on theseverity of restrictions; 3) a discussion of theconsequences of the regime on the Palestinian population, with five illustrative examples;and 4) a discussion of the IDF’s refusal toincorporate the regime in military legislation.Chapter Three briefly describes the bureaucracythat Israel operates to issue movement permitsthat enable Palestinians to travel on some of therestricted roads.Chapter Four analyzes the Forbidden Roads Regime from the perspective of international law. 1. Order Regarding Defense Regulations (Judea and Samaria) (No. 378), 5730 – 1970, Declaration Regarding Closing of Area (Prohibition on Entry and Stay) (Area A). Similar orders were issued regarding parts of Area B.2. Letter from the IDF Spokesperson’s office to B’Tselem, 21 June 2004. The statement quoted relates in general to therestrictions on movement imposed on Israelis and Palestinians on certain roads, and not specifically to Areas A, B, and C.
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