JENIN (Ma’an) — A group of Palestinian merchants from Jenin protested in front of Israel’s Jalama checkpoint between Israel and the occupied West Bank on Sunday in protest of what they said were tightened Israeli procedures and harassment faced by Palestinian merchants while using the checkpoint.
Palestinian merchant Muhammad Kamil from the village of Qabatiya in Jenin said that Israeli forces have conducted “arbitrary” searches on the merchants, which have caused delays and damaged their goods, particularly food that spoiled due to the extended travel times.
He added that Israeli forces have at times questioned the merchants for long hours and have banned them from bringing “important goods” into Israel.
According to locals, the protest demanded that Israeli authorities loosen restrictions at the checkpoints and to halt the revocation of their permits into Israel, which the protesters said have been periodically revoked by Israeli authorities for arbitrary reasons.
A spokesperson for COGAT, the Israeli agency responsible for implementing Israeli policies in the occupied Palestinian territory, was not immediately available to comment on these restrictions mentioned by the protesters.