IDF Widens, Improves North-Jerusalem Crossing
A public transport lane has been added to the crossing north of Jerusalem, primarily to serve Arab citizens of Israel.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/2/2011, 9:40 PM / Last Update: 1/3/2011, 11:06 AM
The IDF has opened a new lane for public transportation and two additional pedestrian lanes in the Kalandia checkpoint north of Jerusalem. The main beneficiaries of the move will be Arabs with Israeli citizenship, the IDF website reported Sunday.
The Kalandia checkpoint is located near the now-closed Atarot airport, on the road connecting Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Roughly 23,000 people pass through the checkpoint daily. Until the latest changes, they were served by five pedestrian lanes and three motor vehicle lanes. From now on they will be using seven pedestrian lanes and four lanes for vehicles.
The new public transport lane is currently open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, the peak hours of traffic to and from Jerusalem.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT) said that the new lanes are meant "to improve the efficiency of the crossing in general, and the passage of Arab citizens of Israel in particular, especially the Arabs of Jerusalem who have intricate connections, including family ties, with Ramallah."
The lane is primarily intended for this population, CoGAT added, "but also for special cases that require quick passage at short notice (wounded people, doctors, VIPs)."
More than half of the people passing through the Kalandia checkpoint are Arabs with Israeli citizenship who live in the neighborhoods of Jerusalem that remained on the eastern side of the security fence when the wall was constructed. The lane will assist in "maintaining a normal lifestyle," CoGAT explained. "Workers will be able to reach work on time, students will not be late for school, etc."