AWARTA, West Bank — The freshly spray-painted signs in this hamlet outside Nablus are a symbol of the new normal in the West Bank, seven months into a scattershot wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
With the Israeli military having shut down the main road, local teenagers put up signs to coax Palestinian drivers along circuitous routes to Ramallah, the seat of Palestinian government, and Huwara, a neighboring village.
Such pop-up checkpoints and closings lasting several days have disrupted the routines of Palestinian residents, whose ability to move through the occupied territory was already precarious. But the pinpointed strategy targeting mainly individual villages sporadically is a stark departure from the widespread closings and curfews Israel imposed on West Bank cities during the second intifada, making its effect harder for the world — and even people next door — to see and feel.
Palestinian officials and their backers denounce the road closings as collective punishment. They have not, however, gained much traction for protest among their own people, because residents of one village sometimes have no inkling what is happening a few miles away, and Ramallah, the center of West Bank political and civic life, has remained largely immune.