Monday, November 19, 2007
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
Monday November 19, 2007
"The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees launched a scathing attack today on a new Israeli plan for a system of checkpoint terminals across the occupied West Bank. Karen AbuZayd, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), said Israeli authorities had told them of plans to install six specially built terminals to check people and cargo, including aid deliveries.
She said it would hamper the agency's work and dramatically raise costs.
"An insidious new regime to limit freedom of movement is threatening to further stifle economic activity and smother social interaction between villages and towns in the West Bank," AbuZayd said today at a meeting of UNRWA donors in Amman, Jordan.....
"It is obvious that these new procedures will result in loss of time and an exponential increase in costs," AbuZayd said. There are already 563 obstacles in the West Bank, from permanent checkpoints to earth mounds, according to the UN.....
She said there were "indications" that staff would need special permits to enter Palestinian land between the pre-1967 war Green Line and Israel's new West Bank barrier, a stretch of land known as the "seam zone".
The course of the vast concrete and steel barrier puts around 10% of the West Bank and around 50,000 Palestinians on the "Israeli" side. The International Court of Justice advised in 2004 that the barrier was illegal where it crossed into the West Bank and should be removed......."