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

The mayors and regional councils for Ramallah, Beitin, Silwad, Al-Bireh, Dir-D'Bowein, Almzrah Sharqiyyeh, and Ein Yabrud petitioned the Supreme Court Wednesday to open the security checkpoint protecting Beit El and the Civil Administration to Palestinian Arab traffic. 

In the petition, which was filed with the assistance of the radical left organization Center for the Defense of the Individual, the petitioners argue that restricting movement for emergency UN vehicles and VIP vehicles is illegal and disproportionately infringes on the area's Arab population.

The petitioners note that the distance from the town of Ramallah and from Beitin is lengthened from three kilometers (km) to 15 km and travel time lengthened from 10 minutes to about 30 to 40 minutes due to the checkpoint, as the residents have to travel a circuitous route, passing through the towns of Ein Yabrud and Dura al-Kara.

The petition notes that the IDF and Civil Administration have refused to open the checkpoint to more traffic for two reasons: security issues and transportation problems.

The road had been hastily built during Oslo II to accommodate IDF personnel and government officials and is not designed to handle the heavy traffic moving through the Ramallah area.

If the checkpoint is opened, not only would the road not be structurally sound; it would also present a real security risk to motorists, creating unparalleled congestion - especially during rush hour.

Judge Daphne Barak-Erez responded Thursday, ordering the Military Commander and legal advisory for Judea and Samaria to provide a preliminary response to the petition within 45 days.

Beit El is a common target for terrorists, who use the Jewish community as a focal point for anti-Israel rage due to its proximity to Ramallah. Last year, the IDF was forced to intervene when Palestinian Arab youths targeted the community for rock-throwing attacks.

Roadblocks like the Beit El checkpoint also protect against terrorism spreading from one area to another; for example, last year, Palestinian Arab terrorists were apprehended after stealing a car and attacking the driver, preventing them from leaving Binyamin.