After many years and following HaMoked’s petition: The military allows Palestinian vehicles across the DCO checkpoint into Ramallah and al-Birah. Travel in the opposite direction is expected to begin soon
Over the past two years, HaMoked has been fighting
against the DCO checkpoint, located on Road 466, which connects Ramallah and al-Birah to the towns and local councils to the east. Until recently, only about 1,000 Palestinian VIP card holders, staff members of international organizations and rescue vehicles were allowed to cross the checkpoints. The hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in the area had to take bypass roads.
On February 6, 2014, HaMoked petitioned
the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to instruct the military to open the checkpoint for travel by the Palestinian population at large. HaMoked emphasized the violation of the rights of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who cannot use the road that was built to serve them, and pointed out the inaccuracies in the arguments the military raised regarding the length of the commute on alternate routes.
In its response
to the petition, dated June 11, 2014, the state related that the military did not object to opening the checkpoint for travel by Palestinians, but stipulated a condition that the intersection between Road 466 and Road 60, known as Intersection 90, be significantly expanded to accommodate high traffic volumes. The state also said it budgeted the necessary funds and ordered planning for the intersection, and that the planning was expected to take six months. The state, therefore, asked the court to dismiss the petition, but the court refused and scheduled a hearing for December 15, 2014, a few days after the state’s estimated date for planning completion.
On December 14, 2014, ahead of the scheduled hearing, the parties submitted an updating notice
, in which the state announced that Palestinian vehicles would be allowed to travel through the DCO checkpoint into Ramallah and al-Birah despite the fact that work on Intersection 90 had not yet begun. Inquiries made by HaMoked revealed that this indeed was the case on the ground. With respect to travel in the opposite direction, the state repeated its position that the checkpoint would be open for exit of Palestinian vehicles from Ramallah and al-Birah only after the expansion of Intersection 90, and that the possibility of allowing exit before works begin will be considered. The state also notified that despite its undertaking, the planning stage had not yet been completed and that completion was expected in late March 2015, when implementation is due to begin. Given the state’s notification, the parties asked to postpone the hearing and file a notice with updates regarding the possibility of opening the checkpoint for departure from Ramallah and al-Birah even before works begin. The state will also provide updates on the progress of the planning.