ACRI Files Urgent HCJ Petition Regarding Overcrowding at Checkpoint 300
Yesterday, December 15th, ACRI filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice regarding the overcrowding at checkpoint 300 between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
The petition is based on witness observations made by ACRI’s fieldworker, who gathered during multiple morning visits that the congestion is caused principally by its manner of operation.
Checkpoint 300 was expanded a year and a half ago after years of inhumane congestion with the intention of decreasing the crossing time so that Palestinian workers could make their way into Israel without waiting hours every day. During the COVID-19 pandemic, ACRI learned that the police manning the checkpoint have created an intentional jam at the checkpoint’s entrance, either by manipulating the revolving gates or by refraining from staffing all inspection posts.
In the petition, ACRI demands that the police and the Civil Administration ensure that the checkpoint is operated in an effective manner and that all posts are continuously manned. Additionally, the petition calls for the authorities to allow women, the elderly, and those with preexisting health conditions to pass via the humanitarian route.
Congestion at the checkpoint has a significant impact on the health and dignity of the Palestinian workers, especially during a global health pandemic. The current situation causes workers to leave their homes in the middle of the night in order to arrive at their jobs – most of which are physically dangerous – leaving them exhausted for the day’s work. The price is a higher risk of serious work accidents and injury, and the data on injured workers proves this.
ACRI Atty. Roni Pelli: “The operation of Checkpoint 300 endangers not just those passing through it, but in today’s reality, it endangers all of us. The authorities invested large sums of money to deal with the overcrowding, yet our examination shows that the problem continues unresolved. What’s more, precisely at a time when overcrowding is more dangerous than ever, the police decided to operate the checkpoint in an increasingly ineffective manner, making it a sure site of infection. This is not fate or chance, but deliberate conduct. We therefore turn to the court to order the police to find solutions and decrease the overcrowding at the checkpoint.”