Government to upgrade Judea-Samaria checkpoints

Israeli government to spend $78 million on upgrading checkpoints between the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and Israel.

Ben Ariel ,

IDF checkpoint (illustrative)
IDF checkpoint (illustrative)
Flash 90

The Israeli government will upgrade the checkpoints between the Palestinian Authority-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria and Israel, so that more Palestinians will be able to enter Israel for work, Haaretz reported Thursday.

The Defense Ministry said the move, which will cost some 300 million shekels ($78 million), will shorten the amount of time Palestinians must spend waiting in line to get through the checkpoints.

Thousands of Palestinian Arabs pass through each checkpoint every day, in order to reach their workplace in Israel. Altogether, some 60,000 Palestinians have permits to work in Israel.

However, to ensure that they make it through the checkpoint in time to reach work, they must get up in the wee hours of the morning and wait at the crossings for hours until it’s their turn for a security check.

Palestinians frequently complain about the long delays, overcrowding, heat and other unpleasant conditions, and these problems have also been reported in the media. In response, Israel’s finance and defense ministries set up a task force to try and solve these problems, according to Haaretz.

The Defense Ministry said the upgrade was the joint initiative of Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, in cooperation with Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories.

The decision had support from virtually the entire coalition, according to Haaretz, including Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home).

Last month, Ariel said in a radio interview that the way Palestinians were forced to stand and wait for hours “without shade or water” was “a disgrace and shame on Israel and the defense establishment.