Focus Checkpoint
Focus CheckpointBeit El

The Focus checkpoint, the exit route from Ramallah near Beit El, was opened Thursday morning for Palestinian Authority (PA) Arab traffic, without any inspection of the vehicles passing through.

The checkpoint had been closed to Palestinian Authority Arabs for a long period. Recently, it was opened to PA traffic subject to inspection, but on Thursday morning, as mentioned, the checkpoint was opened without inspection.

Residents of Beit El stress that opening the route for traffic without inspection poses a danger, and that similar checkpoints in the area have security and inspection for those exiting the Palestinian Authority cities. A protest against the reopening has been organised.

In the past, the area has seen several shooting attacks against IDF soldiers and residents, in which Israelis were injured. One of the attackers was a Palestinian Authority policeman who left the police headquarters in Ramallah and used a weapon from the Palestinian Authority.

Beit El mayor Shai Alon criticized the decision: "In a week when two of the town's residents fell in the war for the existence of the State of Israel, in a week when the entire town is in mourning and sorrow, there are those who decide that the security of Beit El residents is not equal to the security of the rest of Israel's residents. The scandalous decision to open the Focus crossing even without security, against all warnings, against common sense which says that where there were attacks in the past there will be attacks in the future - is a moral folly. We have approached all relevant security bodies and presented them with the danger of opening the crossing and now they have turned their backs on us."

He added sharply: "Our blood is not free for the taking and we will fight to have this decision canceled and shelved. This is an unfortunate decision that knowingly endangers lives. The time has come to act to protect Israelis and not the well-being of Al-Bireh and Ramallah residents. If the road is opened as planned – it's only a matter of time until, God forbid, we have casualties from terror attacks. We were promised security, and we demand that this promise be fulfilled in full."

A military source explained that, "In light of the situation assessment and in coordination with all security bodies, the Focus checkpoint near the city of Ramallah was opened to traffic several weeks ago. Over the past few months, infrastructure work has been carried out and advanced observation, collection, and blocking measures have been installed at the checkpoint."

He added, "After another situation assessment, it was decided to change the inspection times and the positioning of forces around the checkpoint to strategic points in order to secure the route continuously for all citizens. Additionally, it should be noted that there are many exits from the city of Ramallah through villages, most of which are not secured at all from which Palestinians have been exiting in recent months."