Intro TAXIS TRADERS WAITING AREA ID CHECKS ISRAELI SECURITY MEDICAL CASES ISRAELI SETTLEMENT Full Coverage

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Introduction

A recent report by a group of 20 aid agencies has drawn public attention to one of the little reported aspects of the continuing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank and Gaza.

The report said these travel restrictions some of them in place since the beginning of the intifada in 2000 - limit Palestinians' access to schools and medical care, increase frustration and destroy hopes for peace.

Israel says the measures are vital to stop suicide bombers flooding into its cities to terrorise the civilian population. However, the army has periodically eased travel restrictions, for example during the three-month ceasefire by Palestinian militants in summer 2003.

The restrictions range from unguarded earth-and-concrete barriers to complex military checkpoints where documents can be inspected and people and vehicles searched.

Some of these divide Palestinian-controlled areas from Israeli ones but others, particularly unguarded barriers, are located in the middle of Palestinian areas.

The structures are now part of everyday life for Palestinians, with thousands having to pass through them daily for work, social or family visits, or medical treatment.

Click on the graphic to explore what happens at an Israeli checkpoint and read about the experiences of Palestinians who pass through the roadblocks and Israelis who guard them.

Words and photographs by Martin Asser


Barriers in West Bank: 392
Source: UN OCHA estimate

Palestinian attacks classed as "terrorist" by Israeli army (since September 2000):
West Bank: 7953
Gaza: 10235
Israel: 759
Source: IDF

All figures as of September 2003

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