Intro TAXIS TRADERS WAITING AREA ID CHECKS ISRAELI SECURITY MEDICAL CASES ISRAELI SETTLEMENT Full Coverage

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Israeli security

A permanent military checkpoint like the one above is usually staffed by a contingent of about 20 regular soldiers and about half a dozen reserve troops (who serve in uniform for a month every year).

The regular troops are responsible for overall security. Some are posted in camouflaged watchtowers, usually positioned overlooking each end of the checkpoint. Others patrol the crossing itself, direct traffic and search vehicles travelling from the Palestinian to the Israeli side.

The reservists are responsible for checking IDs and questioning people leaving the Palestinian area.

Recent years have seen some serious attacks on soldiers manning checkpoints, including a shooting attack in which 10 people, including seven soldiers, were killed in March 2002.

There are many Israeli roadblocks which are physical barriers to vehicles, but which are not under full-time guard by troops. When these are not guarded, Palestinians can still cross by foot. At other times, however, these roadblocks may be completely closed by the army.


Israeli Defense Force soldiers are not allowed to give interviews. But in informal chats with BBC News Online, soldiers stationed at checkpoints said that they felt their work was necessary.

"We're here because we have to be. We don't like it but it's our duty," said one.

"It's dangerous to be here, especially at night. People shoot at us from surrounding areas," he added.

"I feel sorry for the Palestinians who have to cross, but if we weren't here, the terrorists would go and blow us up in Jerusalem," another said.

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