Haaretz is reporting that the very respectable Machsom Watch (Israeli women who monitor IDF practices at checkpoints in the West Bank) is publicly challenging figures that Defense Minister Ehud Barak piously — they say misleadingly — gave to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice: “Only two of the 24 roadblocks Israel allegedly removed recently were in fact removed; many never existed to begin with, the Machsom Watch organization said Tuesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak recently told U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel had removed 24 West Bank roadblocks in order to ease mobility for ordinary Palestinians. However, Machsom Watch activists conducted their own check and concluded the following:
(1.) While the army reported removing 11 dirt roadblocks around Hebron, most of them never existed to begin with.
(2.) Three dirt roadblocks near Salfit also never existed; the same is true of two roadblocks between Al-Abed and Anabta, near Tul Karm.
(3.) The checkpoint near Herodion, which was also on the list, was actually removed two years ago.
(3) At the Jitt Junction near Kedumim, two roadblocks were supposedly removed to allow pedestrian (but not vehicular) traffic through the junction. However, Machsom Watch said, pedestrian traffic is still not being permitted.
The organization noted that since the Israel Defense Forces refused to give it the list of removed roadblocks, it relied on information from a third party that obtained the list from the IDF. No response was received from the IDF spokesman by press time. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/924218.htmlThe Haaretz report about Machsom Watch’s challenge to the IDF figures for roadblocks and checkpoints supposedly removed is here.