Palestinian worker dies in slip accident at overcrowded checkpoint near Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, A Palestinian construction worker died on Tuesday morning after slipping while waiting at the narrow corridor of Checkpoint 300, north of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem, said security sources.

Yousef Jum’a Ghawanma, 65, a resident of the Hebron-district refugee camp of al-Arrub, slipped and fell on his head while on line to pass through the Checkpoint 300 on his way to work inside Israel.

He was reportedly rushed to Beit Jala Government Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Thousands of Palestinian workers queue before dawn each day to pass through Checkpoint 300, which separates the West Bank cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Workers crowd into the cement- and metal-barred walkways, push through turnstiles, pass a metal detector and show their IDs and permits to Israeli soldiers in order to travel to occupied East Jerusalem and Israel for work.

The checkpoint was reportedly built in 2005 inside the West Bank despite the International Criminal Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel’s wall was deemed illegal in 2004.

Large number of Palestinians, especially construction workers, pass the checkpoint every day, facing extreme overcrowding and often waiting for hours in line due inspection procedures as every person must pass through metal turnstiles one-at-a-time.

Israeli severely restricts Palestinians’ freedom of movement through a complex combination of approximately 100 fixed checkpoints, flying checkpoints, settler-only roads and various other physical obstructions.

Source: Palestinian News & Info Agency

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