Monday, August 22, 2005

Crippling Gaza checkpoint to go in settlers' wake

ABU HOLY CHECKPOINT, Gaza Strip (Reuters) - Tawfiq al-Balawi stretched out on a blanket laid in the road beside his truck and propped his head up to sip tea, killing time until Israel soldiers reopened the main checkpoint in central Gaza. Palestinians like al-Balawi hope that years of delays at the Abu Holy Checkpoint on Gaza's main north-south road will soon end with Israel carrying out its promised evacuation of Jewish settlers from the occupied territory.
The checkpoint, close to an overpass used by settlers traveling between their nearby bloc of enclaves and Israel, was established to minimise the threat of Palestinian militant attacks on Israeli traffic.Whenever soldiers have shut Abu Holy or reduced Palestinian traffic there to an exhaustively inspected crawl following an attack or security alert, the narrow Gaza Strip has been split in two with ruinous consequences for local trade and travel.


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