Entry and exit to Israel from the territories is administered by COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories), a unit of the Israeli Army. The territories are only connected by Israeli soil.
Most Palestinians from the West Bank, like Diala Isid, head of the Ramallah Right to Movement group, can live and move freely in some 40 percent of the territory. The rest is under Israeli control. They need special permission to work inside Israel, or to enter Jerusalem.
Palestinians with East Jerusalem identity documents, like Salfity, can travel back and forth between the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Israel proper, but they aren’t Israeli citizens.
And those from Gaza can almost never leave the 360 square kilometre strip. According to Eitan Diamond, executive director of Gisha, an Israeli organization that advocates for Palestinian freedom of movement, “the rule basically, is that there is no movement.”
With a few exceptions – including humanitarian emergencies, some sports teams and some businessmen –“you can’t cross” from Gaza into Israel, he says.
The restriction is part of a policy that is a separation policy, and one of the objectives is to create a separation between Gaza and the West Bank, and cut the ties between the two parts of the Palestinian territory, undermining economic ties but also social, cultural and family ties.
The concrete wall that splits the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Israel has for many come to exemplify the restrictions on Palestinian movement, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the diminishing prospects for peace.
Israeli officials say the barrier, which runs some 250 km, has done its job – saying attacks within Israel from West Bank residents have declined by ninety percent since construction began on the wall in 2003.