Freedom of Movement

Written by: Mera Ghoul, Aya Qumber, Omar Abu Sneneh, Juliana Ajrab, Khaled Attieh.

  To achieve a better understanding on the matter of stopping Palestinian buses on checkpoints for searching civilians, and demanding their IDs in order for them to pass, and the fact that Israeli buses pass without being stopped. A couple of interviews were collected in order to get different opinions. Aiming for a legal perspective we interviewed people who are specialized in the laws of armed conflict. One of the interviewees was Dr Brendan Browne. He had been asked fewer questions than other interviewees since he is an international resident, the additional questions that had been asked for other interviewees were specialized in matters that they may have witnessed. One of the questions that had been asked was: What is the legal difference between a checkpoint and a crossing border? His answer was ‘No idea!! I think they’re one and the same thing in this context, don’t you? It’s simply a way of making them seem more or less aggressive perhaps?’

            The second question was: Is it possible to have a lawsuit against the issue of checkpoints? And is it also possible to have a lawsuit concerning the issue of stopping Palestinian busses on checkpoints while Israeli busses pass by without even getting searched or asked for the IDs of the passengers. Since Israel have the argument that these checkpoints are there for security reasons while on both the Israeli and Palestinian busses have Palestinian passengers.

His answer was ‘I’m not sure if there’s a right to bring a law suit here. Against who? The Israeli state? But as you know, Israel has already had its wall challenged by the ICJ in its Advisory Opinion on the erection of the Wall in 2004. Key point is that the Advisory Opinion was not a legally binding and thus enforceable piece of law that can be relied upon for prosecution sake. Basically it’s a way of expressing international condemnation of what Israel is doing.’

As for the last question that was for bringing in other examples of other colonization/apartheid/occupation that was similar to the one that is in Occupied Palestine. His answer was that “there are loads of examples of colonization/apartheid/occupation that was the same/similar… are there any ongoing? That is a different question. Of course you can look at my own situation in Ireland and say that the northern 6 counties remain under occupation of sorts (it was a brutal colonization policy of the British Empire), so too India before Gandhi’s liberation, the colonization of Native Americans, what about the French colonization of Algeria… there are lots of historical examples… maybe even the post- 9/11 colonization of Iraq?”

·         Below, is an experiment we conducted that implies how long Palestinians spend time at a checkpoint being inspected, from 18th of July until 7th of September, where the mean delayed time is about 8 minutes per day.  The checkpoint that the experiment was conducted on was Beit Jala Tunnel Checkpoint, which is located to the west side of Beit Jala. It is reinforced with military forces, border security, and a private security company. All Palestinians expect East Jerusalem citizens are permitted to cross over through this checkpoint.

Delayed Time(min) Time Day Date
11:22:97 15:26 Monday 18-7
03:39:52 15:51 Tuesday 19-7
07:54:50 14:10 Thursday 21-7
06:43:27 14:37 Monday 25-7
08:58:95 13:40 Tuesday 26-7
10:34:58 13:42 Thursday 28-7
01:01:70 15:03 Friday 29-7
03:29:23 13:59 Friday 5-8
12:30:40 12:53 Monday 8-8
01:49:58 13:35 Thursday 11-8
10:43:81 16:34 Wednesday 17-8
06:07:30 15:21 Thursday 18-8
13:40:29 14:48 Sunday 21-8
12:31:05 17:43 Tuesday 23-8
04:26:86 17:16 Friday 6-8
11:46:48 15:19 Monday 29-8
12:46:68 14:41 Tuesday 30-8
3:56:27 18:30 Thursday 1-9
16:03:26 16:26 Friday 2-9
7:43:45 13:46 Monday 5-9
11:09:77 16:07 Wednesday