Israeli occupying forces have imposed a new system of checkpoints around the West Bank that requires Palestinians to submit their personal information, according to Haaretz.
The procedure was reportedly trialled some months ago as a temporary measure as part of the military’s regular surveillance of public spaces, but has now become permanent. The checkpoints now require all young men who pass through to fill out a form with their name, age, telephone number, identification number, type of vehicle and license number, as well as a photocopy of their ID and giving both the origin and destination of the trip.
The checkpoints will operate early in the mornings when most Palestinians are on their way to work and will increase the usual traffic jams. Some 70,000 West Bank residents also use checkpoints to travel to their jobs in Israel and already have to leave hours in advance due to heavy queuing.
The Israeli soldiers at each checkpoint must submit at least 100 completed forms for each shift, prompting many to complain about the new policy due to the disturbance to daily life and the invasion of Palestinian privacy, submitting their testimonies to Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence.
One Israeli soldier who recently completed his military service said that the army placed emphasis on filling the form, not checking the vehicle: “They told us, “You do the check without filling in the pages – it’s not actually important, it doesn’t do anything””.
Another soldier who took part in patrols to collect personal details said that often soldiers made up the number of forms collected “since it’s impossible to do so many checks”.
Palestinians are regularly subjected to many checks and harassment as a form of intimidation. Such measures are justified as necessary for security, but serve to disadvantage hundreds of Palestinians with many experiencing hours of delays to travel short distances. Many of the checkpoints are known to be lacking in infrastructure and sanitation, with those that must be crossed on foot often dangerously overcrowded.