Israeli Defense Minister Barak refuses to budge on checkpoints

Israel’s Defense Minister (and former Prime Minister) Ehud Barak said on Monday and Tuesday (after the recent visit of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney that he would not remove the West Bank checkpoints and roadblocks that all the members of the Quartet have called on Israel to remove.

Reuters reported that “Israel is under increasing U.S. pressure to take steps to ease restrictions on Palestinian travel and trade. But Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that while Israel would try to ease some travel restrictions within the West Bank, it was not ready to commit to removing checkpoints”. This Reuters report is posted here .

The Associated Press reported that Barak indicated “The government would ‘look into’ certain changes to in a limited test area, he said, but offered no details. ‘It’s still too early to give an answer’, Barak said. Israeli officials have said that without the Israeli military presence, the West Bank could fall to the Islamic militants of Hamas, just as the Gaza Strip did last June”. The AP report is posted here .

2 thoughts on “Israeli Defense Minister Barak refuses to budge on checkpoints”

  1. possibly old news by now but
    Israel, PNA: Improving Conditions In The West Bank
    March 30, 2008 | 1518 GMT
    Israel and the Palestinian National Authority reached an agreement on a series of “concrete steps” to improve conditions for Palestinians in the West Bank, the British Broadcasting Corp. reported March 30, citing a statement from U.S. officials. Israel will remove about 50 roadblocks in the West Bank, while the Palestinians have promised to increase efforts to prevent militant attacks. More than 500 other roadblocks will remain. The statement from the United States came after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Palestinian and Israeli leaders in Jerusalem. The statement also said that Israel will take immediate measures to upgrade checkpoints to reduce waiting times without compromising security.

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