Checkpoint Removal Led to Attack

A month ago, anti-terror group called on gov't to return the checkpoints, warning that the roads had effectively become unmonitored PA territory.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz ,

IDF checkpoint
IDF checkpoint
photo: file

The Almagor Terror Victims Organization said Monday that an attack on an IDF soldier earlier in the day was the result of the removal of military checkpoints near Jericho.

A month ago, Almagor called on the government to return the checkpoints to the roads, warning that the stretch between Ramallah and Jericho had, in effect, become unmonitored Palestinian Authority (PA) territory.

In Monday's attack, a Muslim terrorist resident of the PA-controlled city of Ramallah stabbed an IDF soldier stationed at the Almog Junction, just north of the Dead Sea near Jericho. The attacker also snatched the soldier's weapon before fleeing with a possible accomplice.

The attack was the second terrorist stabbing of a Jew in three days. On the Sabbath, an Arab resident of a PA-controlled village in Samaria stabbed a 9-year-old boy several times.  The terrorist, who has not yet been apprehended, also set fire to a house and tried to enter a second house when he was confronted by the boy. 

In a letter Almagor sent to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak several weeks ago, the organization protested the removal of several checkpoints, which had been made as a "good-will gesture" to the PA. After the IDF barriers were dismantled, the letter noted, it became clear that the traffic routes in the area of the Dead Sea had opened to unmonitored travel by tens of thousands of PA residents. The area, they said, had become like Area A, under almost exclusive PA jurisdiction.

Meir Indor, the chairman of Almagor, warned, "In effect, today a terrorist can leave the Mukata [the PA headquarters in Ramallah - ed.] and travel unmolested to the Dead Sea, with no inspection on the way, and set up an ambush for the thousands of Israelis traveling on the main routes to the Galilee or to the Arava." Israeli travelers, Indor said, "have no way of knowing that they are exposed to hostile elements."

Indor called upon the government to immediately order the replaceme
The area, they said, had become like Area A, under almost exclusive PA jurisdiction.
nt of the checkpoints that were removed, before the heavy Israeli traffic expected around the period of the High Holidays.

In May, Arutz-7's defense correspondent Haggai Huberman quoted a top IDF officer as saying, "The checkpoints are a most significant factor in the war against Palestinian terrorism, in thwarting attacks, in catching wanted terrorists and in intercepting weapons.... The number of checkpoints in Judea and Samaria, at present, is the absolute minimum necessary for Israeli security. Taking off even one more will lower the security level to 'below the red line' of risk."

The security of Israelis, however, was not at the forefront of concerns for the United Nations Middle East Envoy Michael Williams in late August, when he said that the U.N. seeks the removal of more security checkpoints. A significant objective for the U.N., he said, is to convince Israel to take more "far-reaching steps" in order to improve Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas's standing among the PA Arab public.