1967 - 40 Years of Occupation
No easy way through
Israeli checkpoints severely limit movement of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2007 06:25 GMT
Israeli checkpoints bring severe
travel delays to Palestinians

Ramallah in the West Bank is 26km away from Bethlehem.


Without stopping at any Israeli checkpoints a trip between the two cities via

Qalandia checkpoint is the main entrance from Ramallah to East Jerusalem.


Only Palestinians with Jerusalem <

The majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are not given such permits, so they have to take a detour through Wadi al-Nar (The Valley of Fire) as they call it.


It is a rough, narrow curved road that lay abandoned for many years.


Now it is the main road between the north and south of the West Bank.




Even on the Wadi al-Nar road, Palestinians are checked at one of the toughest Israeli checkpoints, known as The Container.


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It started with a cargo container manned by Israeli soldiers - now it is a permanent position.


We crossed the checkpoint with no problems at the beginning - perhaps our camera made it easy.


Then we heard a shouted command in Hebrew from an Israeli soldier.


"Stop and go back!" he yelled.


The soldiers told us that it was forbidden to film.


We argued and 15 minutes later an order came through giving us permission to take footage.


Longer wait


Avoiding the Qalandia checkpoint involves a
detour along a winding valley highway
We were not the only ones who were stopped – the soldiers took the ID cards of some passengers waiting at the checkpoint.


We took our time filming, but those who were stopped at the same time as us were still waiting as we left.


We left not knowing how long they had to stay there. 


Finally we made it to Bethlehem. It had taken us an hour and a half. 


For many Palestinians, planning a return trip starts the moment they arrive at their destination.


They never know what they might encounter on the road and how long it will take to arrive home safely.

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