The IDF is continuing to ease restrictions on the Palestinian population in the West Bank, and pedestrians seeking to cross through the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus will not longer have to go through rigorous security checks. The decision comes after a similar one regarding vehicles going through the crossing.
Military sources explained on Wednesday that the volume of pedestrian traffic has decreased significantly since the original change, as most now prefer to cross by private car or taxi.
The Hawara checkpoint is considered one of the key military crossings in the West Bank, and thousands of Palestinians use it daily. As part of the easing of restrictions ordered by the political echelon, the army
ordered soldiers manning the checkpoint to cease individual examinations of vehicles, greatly reducing the wait for Palestinian drivers. The army said however that it reserved the right to examine any vehicle there was intelligence about.
The checkpoint has been the site of numerous attempted terror attacks. Last October there were two instances of Palestinians trying to transport bombs through the crossing.
Israel has also agreed to largely keep its forces out of four West Bank cities to try to boost the US-backed Palestinian security campaign.
Israeli and Palestinian security sources told Ynet last week that Israel has agreed to refrain from entering Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jericho and Qalqilya, except in cases where the army has intelligence pointing to an imminent terror attack. The agreement was reached following a meeting between Israeli officials from the Civil Administration and top Palestinian security officials held in Bethlehem Wednesday evening.
In addition to this a number of military checkpoints were removed from the Nablus, Jericho and Ramallah areas.