A Palestinian man suffocated on Monday morning before dawn while waiting in the narrow corridor of Checkpoint 300 in the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, where hundreds of workers were waiting to pass through on their way to work inside Israel.
Video footage of the incident shows the crowd of workers passing the man’s body over their heads towards the exit, where he was taken to hospital for treatment.
The identity of the man remained unknown.
Hundreds of Palestinians wait at Israeli checkpoints each morning in the hopes of reaching their jobs in Israel. They are forced to wait in the cold, or extreme heat during summer months as their paperwork is processed by occupation forces who operate at their own whim. As the process can take hours, Palestinians often turn up at the crossings from 4am to be first in the queue and reach their jobs on time.
The checkpoints are regularly closed for Jewish holidays and as a means of collective punishment for the Palestinian population, NGOs have said. This stifles the economy and causes Palestinians to lose their jobs or miss out on school, exacerbating poverty levels in the occupied West Bank.
Checkpoint 300 was built in 2005 two kilometres inside of the Green Line, despite rulings by the International Court of Justice that the Separation Wall was “illegal” in 2004.