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Closure of major checkpoint in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron)

8th December 2015 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Al-Khalil, occupied Palestine

Israeli forces on Monday, 7th December 2015, have closed Shuhada checkpoint in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron) for an indefinite period of time.

This checkpoint marks the border between the H2 area of al-Khalil, under full Israeli control, and the H1 area, supposedly under full Palestinian control. Checkpoint 56 is the major checkpoint leading from the Palestinian market area at Bab al-Zawwiya into the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood and the small stretch of Shuhada Street that is still accessible for Palestinians.

With the closure of this checkpoint, Palestinian residents are facing another crackdown on their most basic rights. Palestinian freedom of movement is already severely restricted by numerous checkpoints and harsh checking procedures at the checkpoints. On November 1st, Israeli forces also declared the area a ‘closed military zone’, further impinging on their freedom of movement.

Recently closed and blocked off Shuhada checkpoint

Recently closed and blocked off Shuhada checkpoint

The closure of this particular checkpoint leaves the residents, families, children and elderly, but also school-children and teachers from Qurtuba school – forced to pass through this checkpoint on their way to and from school every day – stranded on the wrong side of the now inaccessible checkpoint. Anyone trying to go into this area is thus forced to take a very long detour, in order to navigate both the closed checkpoint and the ‘closed military zone’.

According to Israeli forces, the checkpoint has been closed for ‘renovations’. Information about the duration of the closure differs and ranges between one and two weeks. Still, it is not clear for how long this closure will be restricting Palestinians everyday life.