Oznia, a blog of Israel things

~Checkpoints/Road-Blocks: For or Against? by yholzy
May 9, 2008, 3:25 am
Filed under: opinion | Tags: , , ,

This fall, I plan to attend Yeshivat Har Etzion, which is located in Alon Shevut, a settlement in the West Bank. Although the Gush (or Etzion Bloc) is considered relatively safe, there have been some recent incidents. Many people believe that much of the relative safety in Israel and the West bank is due in part to strategically placed checkpoints and road-blocks.

When I was in Israel this past summer, I had the opportunity to visit a checkpoint in the West Bank. What I saw looked somewhat familiar. On the surface, it simply looked like a modified toll plaza with soldiers. The drivers would show identification, pass through between booths, and continue on their way. However, as I got closer, I noticed that the soldiers would pull cars aside, and frustrated Palestinians would reluctantly open their trunks. The soldiers would then search the cars, and soon the driver would be on his/her way.

A ranking officer at the checkpoint explained that Palestinians from the surrounding areas had to pass through the checkpoint in order to get to work each day. He explained that because of the way it was set up, and by its very nature, the checkpoint creates a bottleneck effect, where Palestinians had only one way to get to the other side of the “security barrier,” and were forced to go out of their way just to get there. He mentioned that he believed it was a necessary evil, and that what it sacrificed (namely Palestinian convenience), the Israel public gained in security.

Recently, Israel has been removing road-blocks and checkpoints in the West Bank.


This raises my concern only because they were presented to me as a security need. However, I do believe that if certain checkpoints severely interfere with Palestinian trade, and are not needed for security reasons, they should definitely be removed.

I was wondering if anyone had opinions on this topic. Please feel free to comment and respond.


2 Comments so far
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I have conflicted opinions: While I believe the statistics that say that attacks have decreased since the checkpoints were put in place, I have to wonder about the balance between benefits for Israel and the expense it places on Palestinians in the territories.
I think there’s a fine line between when/where it’s appropriate to have checkpoints (check Israelis as well as Palestinians) and when it’s extraneous and singling out a minority (Palestinians).

Comment by Abby

I live in southern California and have crossed the border to Mexico several times for vacation, by car. Everyone gets stopped going back to CA as people could be smuggling in drugs, illegals, or not have the appropriate paper work to enter the US. Every democracy has an obligation to protect its citizens– so this is routine. All the more so in Israel– where Israelis are not worried about drugs being smuggled– but about weapons and bombs being smuggled by Palestinian Arab terrorists. No one likes to be stopped–but this could be saving countless lives. Read the IDF reports about how many would-be terrorists with bomb belts were stopped at check-points– before getting to major population centers in Israel! Checkpoints are a necessity in Israel, and dismanteling them will only help enable terrorists to smuggle weapons into Israel – weapons which could harm or kill innocent civilians.

Comment by Sam Schwartz

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