First Fixed Roadblock Going Up Between West Bank and Israel

The first fixed roadblock between the West Bank and Israel proper is to be erected this week, by order of the region’s commanding general, Davar reported Monday.

The initiative was taken by Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Mordechai, head of the Central Command. Mordechai has taken the initiative without consulting his superiors, according to Davar.

Neither Defense Minister Moshe Arens nor Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Dan Shomron was aware of it and both have expressed reservations, according to senior Defense Ministry officials.

The barrier, described as experimental, will be in place on the road to Tulkarm by the end of the week. If successful, the Central Command intends to establish 12 additional roadblocks in various parts of the West Bank.

The initial barrier will not be made of steel because it is too costly. But the Central Command said steel would be used on subsequent roadblocks if the first one proves successful.

Arens, who reportedly did not know of Mordechai’s intentions until he read about them in newspapers, was said by officials to prefer only temporary roadblocks in the West Bank.

A Defense Ministry official said the barriers “create political facts that no one agreed to.”

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