Israeli forces install iron gate at entrance to Bethlehem village
Published Tuesday 28/01/2014 (updated) 01/02/2014 20:09
An iron gate restricting access for farmers to their land in Nablus.
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday erected an iron gate at the main entrance to the Bethlehem village of Nahhalin.
Locals told Ma'an that in 2001 Israeli forces blockaded a road connecting the village to Hebron.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces removed the earth mounds blocking the road and replaced them with an iron gate, which is expected to give villagers access to Route 60, a main highway running the length of the West Bank.
Villagers had to previously travel via the nearby villages of Husan and al-Khader to reach Bethlehem, although the new gate is expected to be open for only eight hours a day.
Nahhalin is a Palestinian village located in the seam zone, the area within the West Bank but on the Israeli side of the separation wall.
Villages within the seam zone experience severe restrictions on their movements, as they are completely surrounded by areas under Israeli control and cut off from other Palestinians, and Israeli forces require them to obtain permits in order to travel.
Israeli forces maintain severe restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement in the West Bank through a complex combination of fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, roads forbidden to Palestinians but open exclusively to Jewish settlers, and various other physical obstructions.
At any given time there are about 100 permanent Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, while surprise flying checkpoints often number into the hundreds.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.