IDF removes key West Bank roadblocks

In light of increased stability, army making efforts to facilitate Palestinian movement.

IDF at checkpoint 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
IDF at checkpoint 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
In an effort to improve Palestinian quality of life, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria removed a number of roadblocks on key roads throughout the West Bank in recent weeks.
One of the roadblocks – called the Shomronim Barrier – was removed several weeks ago, enabling Palestinians to travel between the Samaritan neighborhood located next to Nablus to the city of Nablus. A roadblock next to the village of Zvata was also removed, connecting it to Nablus.
In total, roadblocks were lifted from six roads near Tulkarem, Nablus, Balata and Ariel.
Sources in the civil administration said that the decision to remove the roadblocks was made recently in line with government policy for alleviating restrictions on Palestinians in the West Bank due to the drop in terrorist activity.
“Lately, in light of increased stability and calm in the region, the IDF and the civil administration are making efforts to facilitate Palestinian movement throughout the territories,” one official said.
Since 2008, the IDF has evacuated some 30 manned checkpoints throughout the West Bank, leaving 11, mostly located along the Green Line.
“Nowadays, Palestinians can travel from northern Samaria to southern Judea within record time while crossing maybe one checkpoint, when three years ago it would have taken a few hours and they would have had to cross several checkpoints,” another officer said.
Israel is also continuing to allow Palestinian battalions to train in Jordan. Eight battalions have already deployed in the West Bank, consisting of about 4,000 policemen trained by the United States.
Increased cooperation in recent years between Israel and the Palestinian Authority has enabled the IDF to rely on PA forces to crack down on Hamas terrorist infrastructure and, as a result, to scale back operations inside Palestinian cities.
The training of the Palestinian battalions is overseen by Lt.-Gen. Michael Moeller, who took up the post as the United States security coordinator to Israel and the PA in place of Lt.- Gen. Keith Dayton in late 2010. Moeller, a former B-52 bomber pilot in the US Air Force, is responsible for the training of the PA forces in Jordan as well as the ongoing reforms throughout the PA security establishment.