(photo credit: Civil Administration)
A year after installing biometric systems at checkpoints throughout the territories, the IDF plans to begin using the advanced identification technology at "agricultural crossings" used by Palestinians to pass through the West Bank security barrier to enter and work their fields.
"The vision is to have carousel gates that open and close automatically after the Palestinian is checked by the biometric systems," a high-ranking Civil Administration officer told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "If this happens, we might even be able to reach a stage that a soldier will only have to be there to ensure that the Palestinian is not carrying any explosives or weaponry."
In 2006, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, responsible for the Civil Administration, began issuing biometric identity cards to Palestinian residents of the West Bank with permits to enter Israel.
The cards, which contain a special microchip, are issued at Civil Administration offices outside West Bank towns once every two years. They enable Palestinians to pass through checkpoints within a matter of seconds, as opposed to minutes.
This past month, the Civil Administration celebrated the one millionth time that the card was used to pass through one of the 11 checkpoints that have biometric systems. Some 150,000 Palestinians have been issued the card.
The biometric systems at the checkpoints include a face- and hand-scanner.
The decision to issue the biometric cards was made in an effort to combat the growing forgery industry in identity cards issued by the Palestinian Authority.
"By using a biometric card, the soldier at the checkpoint does not need to check to see if the identity card is fake or not," the Civil Administration officer said. "This saves time and also makes it easier for the Palestinian who needs to pass through the checkpoint."
The biometric initiative was made in line with the Civil Administration's ideology that the quality of life within Palestinian towns is directly connected to the level of terrorism directed at Israel.
"If more people can come into Israel for work, then the [Palestinian] economy is better," the officer said. "And if the economy is better, then fewer people will be involved in terrorism."
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