Saturday, October 21st | 1 Heshvan 5778

Close

Be in the know!

Get our exclusive daily news briefing.

Subscribe
January 19, 2017 7:45 am

10 ‘Humiliating’ Minutes at an Israeli Checkpoint

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow / JNS.org

Email a copy of "10 ‘Humiliating’ Minutes at an Israeli Checkpoint" to a friend
The IDF's Huwara checkpoint. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The IDF’s Huwara checkpoint. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – Remember John Howard Griffin’s 1961 book Black Like Me, about a white journalist who posed as an African-American in order to experience what life was like for blacks in the South? An American journalist recently undertook a Palestinian version of that experiment.

After hearing complaints about Israeli checkpoints that supposedly restrict the movement of Arabs in Judea and Samaria, filmmaker Ami Horowitz decided to see what was happening for himself. He hired a Palestinian driver and, traveling in a car with Palestinian license plates, drove “throughout the West Bank.” How often did Israeli troops interrupt their journey? “We were never stopped,” Horowitz reported.

Next, he decided to see what it was like for Palestinians crossing at the checkpoints that separate Israel from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

One such stop was the Qalandiya checkpoint. It’s the last defense line for Jerusalem — the final point at which Israeli soldiers can check to make sure that Palestinians are not smuggling bombs, guns or knives into Israel’s capital. One would expect there to be long lines and complicated searches that would make the lives of Palestinian travelers difficult. But that wasn’t the case at all.

Related coverage

October 20, 2017 1:51 pm
0

Hamas Supporter to Receive Award From Harvard Student Group

He has publicly endorsed Hamas, and secretly schemed with Hamas' supporters to thwart US-led peace efforts in the Middle East. Now Nihad Awad is preparing for a prestigious...

Horowitz asked three different Palestinians at the Qalandiya checkpoint how long it took them to get through on a typical day. All three said, “10 minutes.” One, in fact, told Horowitz that the time “the soldier checks my ID or my work permit is just one minute.”

The allegation that Palestinians are unfairly restricted by the checkpoints is circulated regularly by the United Nations, much of the international news media and J Street types. It is an accusation that has been embraced even by the US  State Department. Secretary of State John Kerry, in his infamous December 28 speech, declared that the Palestinians in the disputed territories “are restricted in their daily movements by a web of checkpoints and unable to travel into or out of the West Bank without a permit from the Israelis.”

Yet you could say the exact same thing about Americans. We are restricted by security checkpoints in every airport, every courthouse and countless office buildings throughout the country. We have to empty our pockets, take off our coats, turn our laptops on and off, sometimes remove our shoes, throw out our bottles of water and submit to body scans and searches, among other things. And we can’t travel across America’s border without a permit — known as a passport — from the US government.

How many of those awful security checkpoints does the Israeli military actually maintain? Look at the website of the extreme left-wing group B’Tselem, a leading critic of Israel. It states that the military “currently operates 27 permanent staffed checkpoints in the West Bank.”

Twenty-seven — in a region of more than 2,000 square miles. And 26 of the 27 are situated at the border between Israel and the disputed territories. What sovereign country does not have checkpoints at its border?

According to B’Tselem, the Israeli military also operates 16 “temporarily manned checkpoints” that “are generally open for Palestinians to cross without being checked.” And Israeli security forces are present only “sometimes.” I would say they hardly even qualify as “checkpoints.”

Every year, there are hundreds of attempts by Palestinians to smuggle weapons into Israel. The last year for which I could find that statistic was 2012, when there were 475 such smuggling attempts (recorded attempts, of course).

So: a 10-minute delay for Palestinians versus 475 terrorist attacks against Israel. Is that a justified trade-off? You decide.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

Share this Story: Share On Facebook Share On Twitter Email This Article

Let your voice be heard!

Join the Algemeiner
  • Mando

    This is a stupid article, written by a clearly biased dude who jumped at the idea of making his favorite apartheid state look great. First of all, your premise and Horowitz’s conclusion are completely flawed. If Palestinians are truly not being checked at the gates as you say, or the check is so fast it’s like nothing, then what’s the point of having gates in the first place? Palestinians clearly are not the problem. Maybe the terrorists are coming from somewhere else? Or maybe times have changed and terrorist attacks in Israel are down not because of apartheid policy, but because a change in Palestinians. Maybe an aggressive Israel is the problem now. Even Madeline Albright thinks Israel is doing too much. Israel is, after all, one of the only countries to congratulate Trump, along with Saudi Arabia, both are pariahs in the Middle East with warlike tendencies.

    And then there’s the other point of view. That Horowitz lied, or his data was false and what the UN and Kerry say are in fact the truth, in which case everything here is thrown out and the apartheid state theory rings even truer. So which is it, Steve? Are Palestinians not a “problem” anymore, or is this as your boy Trump likes to call it, “fake news?”

    • ILIVETHERE

      Wait, you missed the 475 attempts to smuggle weapons! Of course, actually you didn’t. You just like to make silly arguments.

Algemeiner.com