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Israeli Apartheid System in Occupied Territory

On 19 May, the Palestine National Authority (PNA) sounded off alarm bells on Israel's intention to divide the West Bank into eight separate and isolated Bantustants, prohibiting Palestinian civilians from moving from one these isolated area to another unless they are issued special movement permits from the occupation authorities' so-called "Civil Administration".


By mid-May, the Israeli government informed international organization and government representatives that a new closure regime would be enforced in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (with the Israeli government treating Occupied East Jerusalem as part of Israel proper). In defiance of the signed agreements, which oblige Israel to inform and coordinate with the PNA any shifts in procedures related to Palestinians within the Occupied Territory, Israel did not contact the PNA of these objectionable planed procedures, nor did it heed to international calls, such as those issued by the international donor community.

Additionally, Palestinian residents throughout the West Bank have not been informed of this treacherous new procedure. As a result, they will only learn about it once they reach one of the many Israeli roadblocks, where soldiers will turn them back and demand that they obtain a permit.

What Does the Plan Mean on the Ground?

1.The West Bank will be divided into eight separated population centers: Jenin, Nablus, Qalqilia, Tulkarem, Jericho, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Hebron.

2.Traffic between these isolated areas will not be allowed:

In order for any Palestinian citizen to move from one Bantustant to another, he/she must apply to the Israeli occupation authorities' so-called "Civil Administration" for a special travel permit (which Israel ironically calls freedom-of-movement permits), which will decide who has the right to move from one District to another.

The permits do not include East Jerusalem or the Gaza Strip.

Permits are only valid from 5:00am - 7:00pm, effectively enforcing a nighttime curfew on the entire West Bank.

The permits must be renewed each month, subject to approval.

Cars cannot be used to travel from one area and enter another. The Israeli government will enforce a "back-to-back system" where persons and products have to be unloaded in a certain location at the entrance to a Bantustant in order for another car inside it to transport the person or products inside.

3.The Gaza Strip will be divided into four Bantustants, isolated from one another and the rest of the Occupied Territory.

Israel will only allow trucks transporting food into the Gaza Strip; all other products and supplies will be denied entry into the Gaza Strip, which depends almost entirely on outside medical and other supplies.

4.The Palestine National Authority's District Coordination Offices, which according to the Oslo agreements shall be Israel's only contact for procedures related to Palestinian civilians, will not be part of this process. Consequently, Israel is attempting to gradually restore the Israeli military occupation over the entire West Bank, starting with the so-called "Civil Administration", which used to control movement permits prior to the creation of the PNA following the Oslo Accords.

5.International governmental and non-governmental Organizations such as the International Red Cross, which employ a large number of Palestinian civilians are also obliged to obtain such permits for their Palestinian employees.

6.International employees, such as UN workers and others, going through the Eretz checkpoint into the Gaza Strip or out will be subject to search, in contravention of all international treaties.



1.International organizations and representative offices, which have not yet asked for these permits, will be unable to carry out their duties as needed.


Health Organizations such as the International Red Cross requiring freedom of movement, under international law, for its staff, especially ambulance drivers and medical crews. This new regime will forbid Palestinian ambulance drivers and medical crews from carrying out their duties without having the permit.

Any work or emergency medical assistance needed between the Districts past seven in the evening will be impossible for the Palestinian staff. This will effectively paralyze Palestinian health organizations, particularly the Red Crescent and Medical Relief organizations. Consequently, thousands of daily medical emergencies will be unable to reach hospitals on time, if at all. Hundreds of deaths will also occur, as delays in arriving to hospitals for the injured or gravely ill will result in death.

Hospitals in the West Bank's northern Districts (Tulkarem, Jenin, and others) are not equipped to receive medical cases in certain specialties and usually transfer the seriously injured or ill to hospitals in Nablus or Ramallah.


a. At least one million Palestinian students travel on a daily basis from their villages to nearby cities in order to attend their school.

b.Tens of thousands of Palestinian teachers travel everyday from their place of residence to their place of work. The Ministry of Education, keeping in line with the PNA's rejection of having any direct dealings with the so-called Civil Administration, has instructed its teachers not to apply for these required permits. (This situation applies to other civil servants who have similar circumstance.)

School students will be unable to attend their schools, thus disrupting the entire educational system.

The current school year, which has been extended to the end of June as a result of the numerous Israeli invasions and reoccupation campaigns against West Bank cities and towns, is now nearing the High School Baccalaureate Exams. Graduating students must make it to examination centers in various locations, which will now become almost impossible to achieve, especially for the male students who constitute a target for Israeli occupation soldiers manning the roadblocks.

Teachers, who now spend up to five hours to get to their places of work while risking their lives in the process, will be unable to reach the schools in which they teach.

These repercussions will not only disrupt the educational process, it also threatens the quality of education that students will be receiving in school.

c.Tens of thousands of Palestinian university students attend universities in cities away from home.


Students from the Gaza Strip of Nablus city for example who are studying Ramallah’s Birzeit University will be either:

Confined to the area of their university and unable to cross a roadblock, lest they be arrested or shipped of to their original place of residence. This would include their denial of the right to visit their families, which has so far only been applicant to Gaza Strip university students studying in the West Bank for the past twenty months.

Quit their university and move back to their original place of residence, thus compromising their higher educational experience and professional opportunities.

Students residing in Hebron city for example and traveling to Bethlehem University on a daily or weekly basis to attend classes will no longer be able to do so.

Professors teaching in one University and residing in another District will ultimately loose their position due to their inability to get to the lecture halls.


a. West Bank cities, especially in the Center are almost entirely dependant on cities in the north for food products, specifically fresh produce.

b. International organizations and donor countries executing development or emergency assistance programs require freedom of movement between Palestinian towns, cities, and villages. The new regime will deal a serious blow to these programs and most likely result in their suspension in some cases.


The Bantustant regime that Israel intends to impose on the Palestinian Territory would translate into an economic catastrophe as well as possibly immeasurable devastation to the health status of Palestinian children and the elderly in particular.

The back-to-back system that will be imposed will immediately increase transportation costs, which will translate into the marketplace. Since at least 50% of Palestinian families now live below the poverty level, higher costs in essential food products will mean less food on the table. This reality will translate into an increase in preventable health problems due to the circumstances caused by the compounded tragedy caused by Israel's policies of collective punishment.

This plan will also directly impact the struggling Palestinian private businesses, which have barely been able to survive the deteriorating economic situation in the Palestinian Territory (The Palestinian economy has shrunk by one third between October 2000 and December 2001 alone). Consequently, the horrific unemployment rate now plaguing the Palestinian society will inevitably rise as business owners will attempt to cut their costs in order to survive.