Israel’s state comptroller has called for an increase in the number of military checkpoints in the occupied West Bank as well as tightening restrictions on the entry of Palestinians into Israel, Haaretz reported on Wednesday. Yousef Shapira made his comments in his official annual report, in which he criticised the “lack of development of infrastructure of checkpoints between Israel and the West Bank.”
Shapira also criticised the Israeli government for its procrastination in changing the management of these checkpoints from the military to civilians, or handing them over to private companies. The military aspects of the so-called “Separation Wall”, which splits the occupied West Bank into cantons kept apart from Israel and occupied Jerusalem, need to be tightened up, he added.
There are already more than 500 fixed and mobile Israeli checkpoints across the occupied West Bank and Palestinians using them face different treatment every time they have to pass through. At the beginning of this year, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem pointed out that there are 81 manned checkpoints across the occupied West Bank along with “hundreds of physical obstacles in the West Bank in the form of concrete blocks, piles of dirt, or trenches, which prevent access to and from towns and villages.”
The Israeli organisation added that “Palestinian travel is restricted or entirely prohibited on 41 roads and sections of roads throughout the West Bank, including many of the main traffic arteries, covering a total of over 700 kilometres of roadway.” It noted that “Israelis can travel freely on these roads.”