Army establishes `“Israeli-only` checkpoints in the West Bank

February 17, 2006 5:31 AM IMEMC & Agencies Israel, Israeli Politics, News Report 0

Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Israeli soldiers started last week to implement a military order that bars Palestinians with permits to enter Israel from entering via the roads “designated only for Israelis”.The order does not only bar the Palestinian residents from crossing these checkpoints, but also forbids Israelis from transporting Palestinian residents.

The Palestinians must cross through one of the 11 crossing points earmarked for them.

Haaretz added that until this order was issued, Israelis could transport    Palestinians with valid permits into Israel without going through one of these designated crossings.

The Israeli army Seam Line Administration has posted signs at all checkpoints leading into Israel warning that “non-Israelis” cannot use these checkpoints.

The sings define “Israelis” as the residents, tourists and “anyone entitled to immigrate to Israel” under the so-called Law of Return.

An Israeli military official claimed that this decision was made “because some Palestinian groups are using these crossings to cross into Israel and carry attacks there”.

The order was signed on December 15 2005, by  Major General Yair Naveh, the commander of the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank.

The order authorizes the Civil Administration Office, which belongs to the Israeli army, to determine which crossings could be used by non-Israelis, and also to determine "the arrangements that will apply at these checkpoints."

Brigadier General Kamil Abu Rokun, the head of the Civil Administration, signed  on January 3,  the list of 11 crossings that Palestinian residents would be allowed to use, and stated that the order would take effect a month from that date, Haaretz added.  

Eight of the eleven crossing are not on the Green Line; they do not lead to Israel  but either within the occupied West Bank or inside the Palestinian areas which were annexed to Israel in 1967.

Palestinians employed by international organizations – a few hundred people – will be able to enter Israel through two routes that are otherwise reserved for Israelis.

One of two roads is the Tunnel Road, north of Beit Jala town in Bethlehem; the road connects the Gush Etzion settlement Bloc to Jerusalem from the south, and the other is via the Hizma Checkpoint, which is used by settlers living in  settlements north and east of Jerusalem.

Several international organizations based in East Jerusalem protested to the Israeli Civil Administration Office, and stated that their Palestinian employees, who travel with their foreign colleagues into Israel, would have to pass through separate crossings.

Following the protest, Palestinian laborers have been permitted to enter Jerusalem via the Tunnel Road and Hizma Checkpoint  which are reserved only for Israelis.

The spokesman of the Civil Administration Office claimed that the border crossings issue is being examined, and that Israel has not reached a final decision yet.

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