by the ISM media team, February 13th
In recent months Occupation authorities have escalated their policy of issuing fines to Palestinian drivers at certain checkpoints without reason. At Za’atara checkpoint near Salfit today, as well as preventing drivers with Nablus ID from passing and meticulously searching them, the IOF issued fines to some Palestinian drivers.
The issuing of fines has been practiced extensively in the Jordan Valley region. At Taysir checkpoint between Tubas and the Jordan Valley soldiers were observed handing out NIS 100 fines to Palestinian drivers for not wearing seatbelts when they were wearing them. On a trip through the Jordan Valley last month an international volunteer witnessed his Palestinian driver being similarly targetted, this time for not wearing a seatbelt and for not “driving quietly”, incurring a NIS 250 fine.
This practise is clearly designed to discourage Palestinian drivers from using certain key routes. Za’atara is the main checkpoint between the north of the West Bank and the central Ramallah region whilst the Jordan Valley is an area of key strategic interest for the Occupation due to its fertile agricultural land and water resources, 96% of which has already been annexed. The Occupation tightened the already strict movement restricitions for Palestinians last October.
The issuing of fines to Palestinian drivers is the latest form of economic warfare being waged against Palestinians in the Occupation drive to ethnically cleanse them from their land.