For instance, if at checkpoints people were checked for bombs or whatever and then allowed to continue like here at the entrance to a mall, then it would be less of a problem, and maybe we [Machsom Watch] wouldn't have to come to the checkpoints at all. But after you come there you understand that that's not what takes place at all. There is a very minimal and arbitrary physical inspection, which at some checkpoints doesn't even take place. A person's ID card is inspected and if they come from a certain place and aren't supposed to be outside their allotted living area, they can't pass.
That's how it is. Men between the age of sixteen and twenty-five need a permit to pass through the checkpoint, for example. I'm talking about scores of checkpoints, and the meaning is that they can't really leave their houses to go to the city nearby or anywhere. It paralyzes their lives. That's what brought us to the conclusion that checkpoints mostly don't serve security needs. Again, I'm referring to the internal checkpoints. Now even if the checkpoints do fulfill security needs in some way, as the army claims, there are things known to all of us, including the fact that Palestinians who go to apply for a permit at the DCO [liaison office] are often pressured to become collaborators.
It's a widely known fact; it's really not something that we discovered. "Come help us out and in return you'll get a permit for your child to go to the hospital." So there are many ways in which the checkpoints are used indirectly for security needs.
The matter of "proportionality" came up in the appeal to the High Court of Justice in the case of the wall; let me explain. It means we compare how much the population is harmed to the security benefit. For instance, the High Court of Justice ruled that [some parts] of the wall must be moved because its harm is too extensive [to the Palestinian population]. In relation to the checkpoints, you could claim Palestinian men shouldn't leave their homes at all, and that will contribute to Israelis' security. Maybe it will, but there are things that cannot be done according to international law, and the checkpoints are a violation of international law.
I think we all have our red lines for what we are prepared to let the army do for the sake of security. We could also bomb the cities and be done with it! So the issue is that it seems to be a total imbalance, and to a certain extent, a lie. I say a lie because there aren't physical searches at the checkpoints; rather, the checkpoints pen people into all sorts of areas. Why is this done? That's what a military occupation looks like, that's what control looks like. It states who's in charge; the Israeli army is in charge and that's the situation and "you" must accept that, "you" must let go of your aspirations, we're the strong side and that's the story.