Israeli rights group: 'Palestinians face collective punishment'

Palestinians face collective punishment in the occupied West Bank under security pretexts as Israel applies an intricate system of barriers that effectively splits it into six enclaves, an Israeli human rights group said on Tuesday.

Israeli rights group: 'Palestinians face collective punishment'
Palestinians face collective punishment in the occupied West Bank under security pretexts as Israel applies an intricate system of barriers that effectively splits it into six enclaves, an Israeli human rights group said on Tuesday.

In a report, B'Tselem rights group said the restrictions on Palestinian movement were "directly related" to the presence of illegal Jewish settlements in the territory and called for their removal.

"The settlement enterprise, which is directly related to denial of Palestinian freedom of movement in the West Bank, is illegal, so Israel must dismantle them," it said.

The report said the Israeli army deploys 47 checkpoints and 455 physical barriers across the West Bank, where 312 kilometres (194 miles) of main roads are either fully off limits or restricted.

"Israeli authorities have turned Palestinian freedom of movement from a fundamental human right into a privilege that Israel grants or withholds as it deems fit," it said.

While the barriers may have been initially set up to counter security threats following the second Palestinian uprising that began in September 2000, the report says that today they are aimed at allowing Jewish settlers easier travel across the occupied territory.

"While some restrictions on movement were originally imposed in response to a specific security threat, today they primarily serve other objectives, among them the creation of a road network that is rapid, convenient and relatively "sterile' of Palestinians for the use of settlers and other Israelis," it said.

AFP
Last Mod: 07 Ağustos 2007, 17:55
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