Israeli-Palestinian Paper Criticizes 10 W. Bank Roadblocks

Team of experts concludes roadblocks have little security value, needlessly harm Palestinian economy.

Ten roadblocks that Israel set up in the West Bank have little security value and are needlessly disrupting trade in the Palestinian territories, according to a joint Israeli-Palestinian report recently submitted to security authorities.

The report, the first of its kind, was drawn up by a team that included U.S. experts, Palestinian officials and two Israel Defense Forces reserves officers serving in Civil Administration in the West Bank.

The team's recommendations, urging Israel to remove the roadblocks, were written under the auspices of the Peres Center for Peace, The Palestine Center for National Strategic Studies and the Danish government.

"Alternative solutions [to the road blocks] can easily be employed and reduce disruptions that hurt the trade [coming] from and within the West Bank," the team argued. "No doubt, the long waits, bypasses and uncertainty regarding these points seriously sabotage effective passage of goods in the West Bank and to Israel and abroad."

The report added that the removal of 40 dirt obstacles by the Israeli authorities is "to little too late." The report is in line with the conclusions drawn up by the United Nation's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Some 500 roadblocks affect the PA economy, trade and mobility, according to the report. In addition, five official roadblocks regulating trade between Israel and the Palestinian Authority exist. Limits on travel have put a major strain on the Palestinian economy that is at an unprecedented low, the report said. "The repercussions, in addition to other limitations that civilians have had to put up with at roadblocks and checkpoints on a daily basis, serve as fecund ground for feelings of revenge that lead to violence," the report said.

IDF Brigadier General (Res.) Ilan Paz and Brigadier General Dov Tzadaka, who were both former heads of the Civil Administration, participated in writing the report, which is slated to be the first in a series of papers on the effects Israel's roadblocks have on the Palestinian economy.