IDF to lift travel restrictions

The Israel Defence Force (IDF) has promised to ease travel restrictions for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley.

The nation’s defence forces have announced that they will ease restrictions that prevent free passage for Palestinians to and from the Jordan Valley. The defence body made the promise to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, which has campaigned since 2006 for freedom of movement for Palestinians to and from the Valley.

A spokesperson for the IDF said, ‘As part of our policy for improving the quality of life of the Palestinian population of Judea and Samaria, the IDF approved a few months ago free movement between Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley, subject to a security check.’

Previously, free passage was allowed only through checkpoints to vehicles whose owners were registered as residents of a Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley. It was also required that the driver had to be the vehicle’s owner. Since 2001, Palestinians whose ID card does not list an address in the Jordan Valley, or who do not hold an entry permit, were not allowed into Jordan.

The travel restrictions prevent residents of the northern Jordan Valley, who live in small agricultural communities and depend on services such as education, health and employment from Nablus, Jenin and towns overlooking the valley, from travelling freely. This had increased the cost of amenities, goods and services and had also prevented the free movement of people across the border. With the lifting of restrictions, it is expected that more travel will be made possible for those concerned.