Israeli Forces Detains Two Palestinians in Hebron, Closes Main Nablus Checkpoint

HEBRON, July 11, 2015 (WAFA) – Israeli forces detained Saturday two Palestinians from Hebron and closed the main Huwwara military checkpoint to the south of Nablus, according to security sources.

The two detainees were identified as Ibrahim Salhab and Muhammad al-Mraqtan.

Meanwhile, forces set up checkpoints at the northern entrance of Hebron as well as the entrance of Sa‘ir, a town to the northeast of the city, where they stopped and examined Palestinian registered vehicles and inspected passengers’ identification cards.

In the meantime, forces closed Huwwara military checkpoint, south of Nablus, in both directions since the early morning hours and until further notice, preventing Palestinian residents’ movement in and out of the area.

Palestinian commuters were ordered to use another checkpoint near ‘Awarta, a town to the south of the city.

“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,” said B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian Territories, in a report.

“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,” it added.

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.

To be noted, Israeli settlers residing in illegal settlements in the West Bank ‘do not have to pass through the checkpoints. They are given access to bypass roads, only available to them, which connect West Bank settlements to Israel,’ noted B’tselem.

According to a September 2003 article in the Israeli daily Ha’aretz, the cost of these roads (up to that date) was around NIS 10 billion (about $2.2 billion). In some cases, the settlers have planned and illegally built roads by diverting public funds allocated for other purposes.

‘Since 1967 Israel has cleared and paved hundreds of kilometers of bypass roads, some of which were built to connect specific settlements to Israel and to each other, while others were built to create an ‘inter-regional highway’ connecting the different settlement blocs in the West Bank,’ said the Israeli anti-settlement group, Peace Now.