(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)

Throughout Judea and Samaria in recent months, new checkpoint facilities have been opened to enable speedy and efficient security checks in a minimum of time. This is intended to ease the lives of Palestinian residents who aren’t involved in bringing terrorism to Israel. The checkpoints feature advanced automatic inspections, complete with computerized systems that enable the precise and rapid identification of those passing through with continuous and rapid updating, employing X-ray machines and metal detectors. The improved crossings have been erected both at places which did and did not previously have checkpoints, and were placed after examining where it would be possible to preserve and even improve the lives of the Palestinians using them.

Two of the checkpoints are already operating in terminals: one at the Shaar Ephraim Checkpoint, which opened at the end of June west of Tulkarm; and the Bitonai Checkpoint, which opened about two months ago south of Ramallah. The Jelma Crossing and additional crossings in Samaria and the area surrounding Jerusalem will be opened in the coming months. Three new checkpoints will also be opened in Judea in a few months as part of this project.

According to the civilian administration, the crossings at Shaar Ephraim and Jelma have capacities of up to 2,800 crossings per hour and are each expected to handle about 10,000 a day. Workers and merchants will be able go to work in Israel, along with crossing for cases of humanitarian need.

The Bitonai Crossing is for merchandise traveling between the heart of Israel and Judea and Samaria. The goods passing through the checkpoint consist primarily of agricultural produce, foods, textiles, and building materials. About 300 trucks use this crossing every day.

The civilian management does not foresee changes in the number of future crossings, and thus the searches and delays at the crossing will be greatly reduced.

The checkpoints will be staffed by infantry soldiers, military policewomen assigned to search female crossers, an Arabic-speaking officer from the Liaison and Coordination Administration, and soldiers from the checkpoint unit of the Military Police.

Infantry soldiers stationed at the checkpoints undergo special training, which enables them to carry out their assignments in a professional manner while adhering to the highest verification procedures in the world and to cope with the situations likely to pop up at a checkpoint. The checkpoint unit of the Military Police was established about two years ago with the job of preventing terrorist incidents in Israel through professional searches at checkpoints while preserving the way of life of the Palestinian residents.