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 Palestinian views on travel curbs

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mihou
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Nombre de messages : 8069
Localisation : Washington D.C.
Date d'inscription : 28/05/2005

03062006
MessagePalestinian views on travel curbs

Palestinian views on travel curbs
The UN says travel restrictions in the West Bank have increased dramatically in the last year, with the de facto division of the territory into three main sections and several enclaves. Click on the map to find out how four Palestinians living there have been affected.

OMAR MUSALLAM, 18, STUDENT, JENIN

At the beginning of this year, I went home every week but now it's become too difficult.

It makes me feel frustrated and angry because I can't see my family in Ramallah. It's only a shot distance but it's like they are living in another country. My sister's graduating from high school on Sunday but it would take me too long to get there.

On the road from Jenin to Ramallah I often get trouble from the soldiers. It should take an hour if everything's okay, but it can take up to five or six hours.

It's easier for me because I have a Ramallah ID. Soldiers have told my friends from Jenin that they can't pass. When they ask why, the soldiers don't tell them. But sometimes it's okay. Sometimes you find soldiers that are more amenable than others.

At times I laugh about the checkpoints because you need to do something to release the tension, otherwise you'd cry.

MAHDI YEASH, 49, BUSINESSMAN, NABLUS

I used to import foodstuffs - spices and kernels - from all over the world, from the US, Thailand, Turkey. But now I've had to reduce what I bring in. It's very difficult to sell produce in the West Bank because you can't move.

If I send a driver to a checkpoint in Nablus he sometimes has to wait three or four days before he can get through. If I can't sell to my customers in the West Bank I lose my market. My clients can't wait for the foodstuffs to arrive.

I sometimes go to Tel Aviv in Israel to do business, but because it takes me so long to get through the checkpoints in the West Bank I only have an hour in the city before I have to return. It is useless.

You can't do business by the telephone. You have to sit with people and negotiate and show them your goods. You can't do that in the West Bank.

HAMDI QAWSMAH, 30, LAND REGISTRAR, JERICHO

The last time I went to another city in the West Bank was Ramallah a year go. It took us two hours to get to Ramallah when it should only take 45 minutes.

I don't have a gun or a bomb, so why shouldn't I be allowed to go without hassle?

To get to Nablus took me seven hours - that's the same time as it took me to go from Jericho to Pisa in Italy

I like to travel and visit my friends and family but I can't. You never know if anything will be open or closed.

I last went to Nablus three years ago. But the soldiers forced us to take off our clothes to check for bombs.

To get to Nablus took me seven hours - that's the same time as it took me to go from Jericho to Pisa in Italy.

I used to play football in a West Bank league, but we couldn't go anywhere. The league was disbanded.

It's too much trouble to travel here. I feel trapped. It's being an animal.

ISSA TANENHI, 45, TAXI DRIVER, HEBRON

A year ago we had more freedom of movement. We used to use be able to finish our business in a shorter period of time.

But with petrol prices these days and the long waits at checkpoints, I hardly make a profit.

It used to take me 45 minutes to get from Hebron to Ramallah. Today it can take up to seven hours. In the past I would go to Ramallah several times a day, but now I only go once and that's if I make it at all.

Every time they stop me at a container checkpoint and the soldiers ask stupid questions like "where are you going?" and "what are you doing?".

Every day there is a new story, things always change on the ground. The situation compared to last year is a lot worse.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/5032856.stm

Published: 2006/06/01 16:42:59 GMT

© BBC MMVI

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