Photo: Rachela Hayut
Women belonging to the human rights group Machsom Watch complained Sunday that IDF soldiers manning a checkpoint in the Jordan Valley kept Palestinians waiting for two hours without cause.
The IDF rejected the accusations, explaining that the women interfered with the checkpoint's operation and caused the delay themselves.
Three activists made their way to Tiyasir checkpoint, in the northern Jordan Valley region, on Sunday afternoon, claiming that recently soldiers have been denying Palestinians access there for no reason.
"This is a checkpoint located in an isolated area, and is therefore not frequented by human rights organizations," explained Dafna Banai, of Machsom Watch.
"Three weeks ago the soldiers were replaced and since then there have been many delays… Apparently there have been orders from above to make the checks more severe, for an unknown reason. At the end of the day the lines here are huge. Not a day passes without someone calling me to say they waited for hours."
Banai claims the soldiers demanded that the activists stand at least 100 meters away, but the latter refused, so the checkpoint was closed. "It was not the first time soldiers used this method to make us leave," she said.
"In recent weeks they have closed the checkpoint a number of times when we arrived. Closing it without security reasons is entirely illegal."
This time, the checkpoint was closed until police arrived and detained the three activists for questioning.
But the IDF claims the women were interfering with the operation of the checkpoint. "Therefore there was no escaping the halting of the security checks and closing the checkpoint down," the army stated.
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