Army set to remove Hawara checkpoint

Checkpoint south of Nablus is one of the W. Bank's largest; IDF to remain in the area as precaution.

hawara checking palestinians 248 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
hawara checking palestinians 248 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF on Wednesday decided to remove one of the largest West Bank checkpoint - the Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus. Movement for the thousands of Palestinians that pass through the checkpoint daily will now be free and without security checks. However, IDF soldiers will still remain there in the interim as a precaution, in case of terror activity in the area. The IDF has scaled down activities at the checkpoint in recent months, carrying out random checks. The decision follows the recent removal of the Beit Iba checkpoint, west of Nablus. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) slammed the decision. "At the Hawara checkpoint, over the years, terrorists with pipe bombs, bomb belts, knives and other murderous weapons have been caught every week," he said. "The lives of hundreds of Israelis have been saved thanks to the Hawara checkpoint, and the lives of thousands of Israelis are now in danger because of the criminal gesture to the Arabs and Americans," Eldad concluded. At the beginning of June, the army removed two checkpoints in the Ramallah area. On Thursday, ahead of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's visit to the US, the IDF announced that it was scaling back operations in four major West Bank cities. It was unclear whether the decision was directly connected to the talks in Washington, but defense officials told The Jerusalem Post that the move was made following American demands that Israel scale back its presence in the West Bank and transfer security responsibility to the Palestinian Authority. The decision to scale back operations in Ramallah, Jericho, Bethlehem and Hebron was announced at a meeting between IDF officers and their Palestinian counterparts in Bethlehem.