IDF checkpoint 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The Defense Ministry and several other relevant government ministries failed to
make sure a single body was overseeing security checkpoints between Israel and
the West Bank, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss said, in a scathing report
he issued Tuesday.
In 2003, then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz decided
that control over checkpoints along the Green Line would be transferred from the
IDF to civilian authorities.
In 2005, the Defense Ministry established a
Crossings Directorate, but according to Lindenstrauss’s report, only a quarter
of the checkpoints have been transferred to its authority.
The probe also
found what it called “severe failures” in the way some of the checkpoints were
run by the IDF, particularly regarding garbage trucks that transfer debris from
Israel to be illegally dumped in the West Bank. Another four checkpoints along
Jerusalem’s periphery, it said, were established without first being approved by
the Interior Ministry, in violation of the law.
In addition, the report
stated that soldiers were stationed at several checkpoints near Jerusalem to
inspect cars under the command of the police.
“This has no legal basis,
since soldiers are not allowed to be under the command of anyone but the
military, according to current legislation,” the comptroller wrote.
report also discovered that the Israel Police was refusing to receive
instructions from the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which is responsible
for setting the guidelines used to inspect passengers crossing the
The comptroller called for the government’s immediate
intervention in what it called a “flagrant problem.”
refusal over four years to receive guidelines from the Shin Bet should be viewed
gravely,” Lindenstrauss wrote.
The Defense Ministry issued a statement
saying that it planned to continue transferring control over the checkpoints to
civilian authorities in the coming months.
It said that the work done by
civilian security guards – aimed at reducing friction between Palestinians and
the IDF – had received praise from international organizations, since it had led
to an increase in the transfer of goods into the West Bank.