The Times of Israel reported on May 19 that Moshe Kahlon and Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s finance and defense ministers, respectively, announced a two-year plan to improve conditions at security checkpoints in the West Bank.
Kahlon and Yaalon, who is expected to be replaced as defense chief by Avigdor Liberman as a part of a shakeup in the governing coalition, said that the plan would make the checkpoints, which tens of thousands of Palestinians go through in order to reach jobs in Israel, more efficient and secure.
The program is expected to cost $77 million.
Yaalon said in a statement that the program will decrease the wait times for Palestinians at crossings between “30 to 50 percent” and increase the amount of goods that can be transferred by “approximately 30 percent.”
Back in April, Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel, a member of the Jewish Home party who in 2012 was named by a settler group as the second-most right-wing member of the Knesset, shocked many when he criticized the “shameful” conditions found at the checkpoints.
Ariel, a former leader of the Yesha Council settlers advocacy group and longtime supporter of settlement construction, said that Palestinians are often forced to wait at checkpoints for hours without shade, water, or other shelter from harsh weather conditions.
Ariel also called for a new port in Gaza, which has been subjected to a naval blockade since 2006, when Hamas won control of Gaza.
According to the Times of Israel, Yaalon is supposedly under current consideration for the position of foreign minister.