Israel Removes Roadblocks in West Bank, Increases Aid to PA
Israeli authorities have now removed more than 75 percent of roadblocks in the West Bank since 2008 as a “goodwill” gesture intended to endorse Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Israel National News reported.
According to Israel’s coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the number of roadblocks “was reduced from 44 in 2008 to 10 in 2012, most of which are normally open.”
“The most recent roadblock to be removed, in the last two weeks, was roadblock 328 north of Jericho, connecting Jericho to Highway 90,” COGAT said.
While critics of Israel say roadblocks are a primary cause of the failure of the Palestinian Authority to succeed economically, the PA said last week that its economy is growing at a rate of 5.2 percent. Gaza had a 27 percent growth rate last year.
Israel has also increased freer passage of Palestinian Authority Arabs into the rest of Israel by 20 percent since the beginning of this year. Additionally, “In light of the PA’s budget crisis, Israel transferred at the beginning of the month of Ramadan [three weeks ago] an advance of 180 million shekels (approximately $45 million) of August tax remittances,” COGAT said.