Palestinian wait times dramatically eased with upgrades at Israeli checkpoints

Scenes resembling pleasant airport terminals replace long lines for workers crossing into Israel from the Palestinian Authority.

By World Israel News Staff 

Israel has taken dramatic action, at a cost of about $85 million, to upgrade the experience for Arab workers crossing into Israeli territory from the Palestinian Authority (PA), according to a report on the Israeli Mako news website.

The main crossings which have undergone this transformation are at Rachel’s Tomb, in the Bethlehem area, and Kalandia, located north of Jerusalem, according to the report. The dramatic changeover has taken place within just a matter of months, the report says.

Israel has received much bad press over the years due to photographs of seemingly endless lines and hours of waits in crowded conditions forced upon laborers who need work in Israel and whose services are required in various Israeli sectors, in particular construction and agriculture.

The crossings now look more like routine airport terminals and security checks similar to those made at Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport, reports Mako.

The process involves both a security check to ensure there are no potential terrorists in line and confirmation that the PA resident has a permit to work in Israel. Once both matters are clarified, the laborer is granted immediate entry; there are no additional delays.

“Exactly four seconds after the Palestinian worker places a magnetic card [on an electronic device], his entry into the country is authorized and he’s in Israel,” says the report.

Because of the dramatically quicker process, the workers can now allow themselves a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning, becoming better rested and less stressed, according to the website.

“In order for a Palestinian to earn a fair income, he needs to set out in a respectable manner to get to his workplace,” Maj. Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, the Coordinator of Israeli Government Activities in the Territories, told Mako.

“In order for Israelis to build, develop agriculture and other services, they need them [the Palestinian workers]. It serves the economies of both sides,” he added.

An estimated 85,000 Palestinians cross into Israel each day, according to official figures, and another 33,000 work in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.