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The Civil Administration in the territories has started issuing Palestinians with a new type of magnetic cards that employ biometric identification techniques - face-prints, handprints, eye-prints and fingerprints.

The new identity cards, known by their Hebrew acronym, Bazal, are meant to be used in conjunction with the separation fence, and will be used at seven special access points along the barrier and in the Ramallah area.

Gates are currently under construction in Jalame, Jenin, Sha'ar Ephraim and in the Tul Karm area.

The idea is that card-holders will not have to come into contact with soldiers, but simply swipe their cards through the identification device. The first 2,000 cards have been issued to residents of the Tul Karm area.

A Civil Administration source said that the cards are issued within 10 minutes, and on the spot, eliminating the long lines and lengthy wait for the identity cards in use today.