Israeli Forces Block Off all Entrances to Bethlehem Town

BETHLEHEM, May 13, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces Wednesday blocked off all entrances leading to the town of Taqou, east of Bethlehem, preventing residents movement in and out of the area, according to a local official.

Head of the town’s municipality, Taysir Abu Mfreh, informed WAFA that Israeli forces deployed and set up surprise flying checkpoints at all entrances leading to the town, preventing residents’ movement.

B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, said in a report, “Israel’s restrictions on Palestinians’ freedom of movement in the West Bank are enforced by a system of fixed checkpoints, surprise flying checkpoints, physical obstructions, roads on which Palestinians are forbidden to travel, and gates along the Separation Barrier. The restrictions enable Israel to control Palestinian movement throughout the West Bank as suits its interests, in a sweeping breach of Palestinians’ rights.”

It said that, “Prolonged checks and searches at some of the checkpoints, humiliating treatment by soldiers, and long lines deter Palestinian drivers from using some of the roads still open to their use. As a result, Palestinian movement on some of the main roads in the West Bank has decreased, and these roads are used almost exclusively by settlers.”

B’Tselem said that in February 2014 there were 99 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank: 59 are internal checkpoints, located well within the West Bank.

Meanwhile, Israeli forces attacked school students in the early morning hours, spurring confrontations with residents; forces fired tear gas bombs and stun grenades towards residents, however, no injuries were reported.