Access to Betlehem from Nearby Villages Severely Limited

22 December 2006

Al-Khadr is a town on the western side of Bethlehem. The Israeli settler bypass road between Jerusalem and Hebron (Road 60) runs by the western edge of Al-Khadr. All the roads leading into the town have been blocked by the Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of the 2nd Intifada in 2000. In order to travel between Bethlehem and the western villages in the Bethlehem district or anywhere in the Hebron district, Palestinians must come to Al-Khadr to the Al-Nashash checkpoint, go over or around the roadblock on foot, and then get in another shared taxi on the other side of the roadblock.

There is no way for a vehicle to travel between Al-Khadr and Bethlehem. For example, if a person was seriously ill or injured and needed to be transported to a hospital, the ambulance would have to drive up to the roadblock, unload the patient, walk the patient over concrete blocks and down another hundred yards before loading him or her into a second ambulance to reach the city nearby. Additionally, The Israeli soldiers can and often do close this roadblock, preventing Palestinians from crossing at all.

In the next few months, construction of the Apartheid Wall along Road 60 will cut off Al-Khadr. It is expected that when the Wall is complete in the area, the Israeli army will close the Al-Nashash roadblock as well, completely sealing Al-Khadr and the western side of Bethlehem, and making it impossible for Palestinians to travel between the Bethlehem and Hebron districts and Bethlehem will be a prison.