Press Conference: Israeli Construction of "Erez" Checkpoint in Bethlehem

Tuesday, October 12, 1999
10am - 12pm
Bethlehem Municipality Building (across from the Church of the Nativity)

On Tuesday, 12 October 1999, a coalition of Palestinian Human Rights organizations and the Bethlehem Land Defense Committee will hold a press conference, hosted by the Bethlehem Municipality, to discuss the current construction of an "erez" style checkpoint in Bethlehem. Speakers on the panel will include Hanna Nasser, Mayor of Bethlehem; Faisal Husseini, Minister with Portfolio for Jerusalem; Khalid al-Azah from the Bethlehem Land Defense Committee, Nasser Nafaa' of the Bethlehem Waqf and Attallah Hanna of the Greek Orthodox Church. The panel will be chaired by a representative of the coalition. Guided tours of the site will be offered after the conference.

Current construction includes a new checkpoint modeled on the one used in Gaza, with a 650 meter walking path and a receptacle road which will be used to transport Palestinians, with valid permits, to Jerusalem. New construction is also underway at Rachel's Tomb, including additional military reinforcements around the holy site and a bridge to connect Rachel's Tomb with the guarded parking lot on the other side of the road. Once the construction is complete, the Jerusalem boundary will expand to reach Rachel's Tomb under the auspices of a permanent security zone.

The construction of a Erez checkpoint in Bethlehem violates a host of Palestinian rights. The new checkpoint will engender the confiscation of more Palestinian land and strengthen the policy of Israeli military closure around Jerusalem which has decimated the Palestinian economy in the West Bank since the imposition of the closure on March 30, 1993. The military closure also severely impairs the freedom of movement of Palestinians and sabotages Palestinian national rights to Jerusalem by creating a de facto border before the state of the final status negotiations.

Conference organized by Palestinian human rights organizations and the Bethlehem Land Defense Committee. 

For more information contact: BADIL Resource Center, tel. 274-7346; LAW, tel. 583-3430; Jerusalem Center for Women, tel. 234-7068; Wi'am Center, tel. 277-7333.