Lindenstrauss slams police, Defense Ministry on checkpoints

According to state comptroller's report, violations abound in management of checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank.

IDF checkpoint 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
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.
The 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 checkpoints.
The comptroller called for the government’s immediate intervention in what it called a “flagrant problem.”
“The police’s 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.