Palestinian workers from Hebron at Tarqumiya Checkpoint. (Photo: Emil Salman)

PMO: Israel’s Restriction of Palestinian Movement Violates Fourth Geneva Convention

PNN/Ramallah

Since October 2015, Israel has further restricted the free movement of Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

According to a recent report issued by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Israel has increased the number of checkpoints in the Occupied Palestinian territories, adding more physical constrains that permeate almost all facets of Palestinian everyday life.

In addition to the 85 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank, hundreds of “flying” checkpoints were erected each month, making travel between Palestinian towns and villages almost impossible.

In East Jerusalem alone, 16 new checkpoints and 20 new roadblocks have been added since last October, “curtailing the access of approximately 138,000 residents to work, school and medical treatment,” according to the UN report.

“These added restrictions on Palestinian movement create a situation of constant uncertainty for Palestinians regarding their ability to carry out everyday activities, such as going to work or school, obtaining medical treatment, or visiting loved ones,” said Jamal Dajani, Director of Strategic Communication and Media at the Prime Minister’s Office.

“Israeli checkpoints punish an entire Palestinian population, which is a form of collective punishment, and therefore violate the Fourth Geneva Convention. Furthermore, Israel’s policy is based on ethno-national origin and blatant discrimination, since these restrictions apply only to Palestinians, but not to Jewish settlers,” added Dajani.

International human rights law requires Israel to respect the right of the occupied to move about freely in their homeland. This right is recognized in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.