In July 2004, the International Court of Justice published their advisory ruling on the Israeli Apartheid Wall judging it to be illegal and calling for its dismantling. More than 10 years later it still control many aspects of Palestinian life and annexes ever greater amounts of Palestinian lands as its construction continues.
The Wall is amongst the tools that the Occupation uses to prevent Palestinian access to Jerusalem. Ramadan is traditionally the time when the largest numbers of Palestinians from outside the city would be attempting to reach Jerusalem to attend Ramadan prayers in al-Aqsa mosque. Since the Wall’s establishment, Friday’s during Ramadan have traditionally seen thousands of people standing in huge queues attempting to pass the checkpoints that separate West Bank city from Jerusalem.
This year, the checkpoints have seen no queues and no more than a steady trickle of Palestinians are even attempting to pass the Wall as Israel is rigidly enforcing increased restrictions on Palestinians. Even Palestinians with Israeli issued entry permits to Jerusalem are being denied entry if they do not meet the age restrictions which have been set at 50 years and above for men, and 45 years and above for women. All Palestinians from the Hebron district have been denied any travel rights since the recent reported kidnapping and killing of 3 settlers near the Gush Etzion settlement on the outskirts of the Palestinian city.
Qalandia checkpoint separates Ramallah and the central West Bank from Jerusalem and is one of the most notorious and busiest checkpoints in the West Bank. During this year’s Ramadan, Qalandia seems almost deserted compared to the usual masses of Palestinians attempting to pass through the checkpoint for Friday prayers during the Holy month. The Occupation’s colonial divide-and-conquer policies are starkly evident, as is the significant role of the Apartheid Wall within that matrix.