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Roadmap for Abbas: Easier Travel for PA Arabs

The government has approved PA requests for easing travel restrictions for Arabs in Judea and Samaria, including the removal of roadblocks that the IDF says are needed to prevent terror attacks.

By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 12/26/2006, 7:08 AM / Last Update: 12/25/2006, 8:57 PM

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met with IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz Monday evening and approved the removal of roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, less restrictions at checkpoints and an increase in the movement of goods and merchandise through Gaza crossings. The crossings at Gaza have been a favorite target of terrorists.

Deputy Defense Minister Ephraim Sneh told Channel Two television before the meeting that 27 roadblocks would be removed immediately. The IDF has been instructed to remove in the near future another 32 roadblocks among the 400 that exist.

Senior IDF officer Yair Naveh, who heads the Central Command, objected to the move. "You are asking me to remove a roadblock, and that damages my ability to thwart a terror attack. The roadblocks assist in thwarting and preventing the movement of wanted men in the West Bank," he asserted.

Previous removals of roadblocks as goodwill measures often have been followed by terrorist attacks. Several children in the Gush Etzion and Kiryat Arba area were gunned down last year and two years ago immediately after the easing of travel restrictions, and suicide bombings immediately followed the Sharm El Sheikh accord two years ago.