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Israel-Palestinian Peace Process: Israel Institutes Series of Goodwill Measures in Nablus

(December 8, 2008)

A number of goodwill measures intended to improve Palestinian daily life in Nablus are possible due to a recent decrease in terror activities originating from the city and as part of the Relief plan authorized by the Minister of Defense, Mr. Ehud Barak, and the IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.

As a part of these measures, a new pedestrian passageway will be opened on Monday, December 8, at the Huwwara crossing. This passageway includes two pedestrian security check lanes and a humanitarian lane to be used by children, women, men aged over 45, doctors, teachers and human rights activists.

Five million Israeli shekels were devoted to the upgrading of the Huwwara crossing for the convenience of the Palestinian residents of Nablus and the surrounding area, and in order to ensure the safety of the IDF soldiers manning the crossing.  

Additionally, the Beit Furik and Awarta checkpoints south of Nablus will be opened Monday to the free passage of Palestinian vehicles into Nablus, allowing Palestinians to pass through without undergoing a security check.

Passage through the Beit Furik checkpoint will be permitted for vehicles only, and the pedestrian route will be closed. Palestinian civilians will be able to leave the city with the presentation of the appropriate authorizations. Security checks will only be undertaken when required due to specific intelligence or operational needs. The opening of the checkpoint will enable the easy flow of traffic for Palestinian civilians from Nablus to the Palestinian villages southeast of the city.

The platform at the Awarta crossing, used for the checking of goods, has been removed, and trucks transferring goods will only be required to go through a basic security check.

The opening of the Awarta crossing will allow a quick, convenient and free passage without the need to present authorization. This will enable increased trade, lower transportation costs and create an overall improvement to the financial situation in the area.

In addition, the Ganot crossing that has been open in recent months until 18:00 every day will remain open 24 hours a day.

The opening of the crossings was made possible following regional security assessments and is a part of a series of goodwill measures taken to improve the financial situation of the Palestinian residents of Nablus. Nevertheless, it must be emphasized that in the event that the terror organizations make cynical use of the crossings, appropriate steps will be taken. 

These steps are a part of recent actions taken throughout Judea and Samaria in order to improve Palestinian daily life. The Al-Badhan crossing, connecting Nablus and the northern Jordan valley, was opened for the free passage of Palestinian vehicles on November 7, 2006. The Asira Ash-Shamaliya crossing, in the northern part of Nablus, was opened on April 28 and the Ganot crossing, connecting Nablus and the villages to its north, was opened on August 9, 2008, connecting the city to villages such as Sabastiya, Deir Sharaf, Burqa and others.

Sources: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs