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Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Israel provides holiday cheer to terrorists - dismantles checkpoints

Israel provides holiday cheer to terrorists - dismantles checkpoints

December 25, 2006

Israeli army ordered to dismantle checkpoints
25/12/2006 - 14:26:08

Israel's Defence Minister Amir Peretz said today he has asked the army to dismantle some of the checkpoints that have severely disrupted Palestinian travel in the West Bank, part of a package of goodwill gestures Israel hopes will boost the moderate Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.

Peretz also told parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee that he supported the release of some of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners Israel holds, even without a deal on freeing an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert indicated that he, too, was willing to free Palestinians before Corporal Gilad Shalit is released.

Olmert had previously rejected any prisoner release until Shalit returned home. But since meeting Abbas on Saturday night, Olmert has softened his position.

Israeli army ordered to dismantle checkpoints
25/12/2006 - 14:26:08


Israel hopes a prisoner release, as well as easing travel restrictions, would convince the Palestinian public that Abbas is able to deliver them benefits that his militantly anti-Israel Hamas rivals, who control the Palestinian parliament and Cabinet, cannot.

At Saturday's meeting, the first between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in 18 months, Olmert offered to dismantle checkpoints and give Abbas tens of millions of pounds in frozen funds.

The checkpoints have carved up the West Bank into separate blocs, making travel more and more difficult and constraining the local economy.

MPs who attended the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee meeting said Peretz told them 59 checkpoints would come down in two stages.

"We must consider easing roadblocks in places where this does not pose a danger," the Defence Minister told reporters after the meeting.

Peretz gave no timetable for taking down the checkpoints. He has asked the army to decide which checkpoints should be taken down in each of the phases, something that could delay the process because of military opposition to easing travel restrictions.

Palestinians welcomed Peretz's decision. Although hundreds of roadblocks will still remain, "we still consider this a step in lifting the internal closure in the West Bank", said Saeb Erekat, a top Abbas aide.

Major General Yair Naveh, Israel's West Bank commander, has warned in recent internal discussions that dismantling checkpoints would make it harder for the army to prevent suicide bombers from attacking Israeli targets.

Olmert, Peretz and top security officials were meeting today to discuss possible concessions, including a prisoner release, officials said.

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