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      Hi-Tech Security Crossing to be Built on Gaza Border

      As part of the new deployment following a disengagement, if it is carried out, the army plans to build a new Erez Crossing in Israeli territory, just north of the Gaza Strip.
      First Publish: 1/19/2005, 10:56 AM / Last Update: 1/18/2005, 11:43 AM

      Defense Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron has approved 150 million shekels ($35 million) for the construction of the new terminal. The 75-acre complex is to include a passage for pedestrians and goods, as well as a train station and, in the future, a passage for vehicles.

      At present, the crossings at Rafiah, Erez and Karni are closed, following continued terrorist attacks there. Most recently, six guards were killed in a terror blast this past Thursday night at the Karni Crossing.

      The new Erez terminal will be built just 100 meters from its present location, and is scheduled to open in July 2005 – before the scheduled completion of the disengagement. Construction is to begin in a number of days.

      Project chief Maj. Ronen Ben-Asa says that the terminal will feature state-of-the-art technology that will obviate physical contact between the Israeli guards and the Arabs passing through. Ten sleeves for the passage of Arabs – at the rate of 500 an hour – were planned, but budgetary constraints dictated that only six will be built at present, and only four will be activated at first. Each sleeve has many sensors, as well as technology to scan the entire bodies of those who pass through and reveal hidden objects. Use of the scanners is in the process of receiving legal approval, in accordance with laws governing privacy rights.

      Guards will track the pedestrians through a reinforced window and via cameras, and will give instructions via a public address system. They will open and close doors via the push of a button. The pedestrians will then pass to the identification station, where their identities will be confirmed using the customary ID cards and biometric methods.