The Occupation

The Israeli occupation controls Palestinian movement (people and goods) through a network of checkpoints and obstacles such as roadblocks and roads reserved for settlers only.

Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip must also apply for ‘permission’ from the Israeli military for many journeys.


One of the main obstacles to Palestinian freedom of travel is the Separation Wall which Israel began building in 2002 and which puts 8.5% of the Palestinian West Bank on the ‘wrong side’. This includes prime agricultural land, water resources, and tens of thousands of Palestinian people. In 2004, the International Court of Justice at The Hague said the Wall was illegal and should be dismantled.

Israeli settlement Har Homa, UPI/Debbie Hill

Israeli settlement Har Homa, UPI/Debbie Hill

On top of this, large parts of the Occupied Territories are completely off-limits to Palestinian people: their land is taken up and fragmented by settlements, military training zones, ‘nature reserves’, and Israeli army bases. For example, in the Bethlehem region, 87% of the land is unavailable for Palestinian use. There are now over 130 of these illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, with a population approaching half a million. These settlements are viewed by many to be one of the main ‘obstacles to peace’:

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