Israel Pledges to Pull 50 West Bank Roadblocks

Rice hails deal, but Palestine officials are skeptical
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2008 7:33 PM CDT
Some Palestinians remain skeptical of Israel's promise to remove 50 checkpoints.   (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)
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(Newser) – Pressured by Condoleezza Rice to kickstart flagging peace talks, Israel pledged to remove about 50 roadblocks from the West Bank—the first in a series of “concrete steps” to finalize a deal, Al Jazeera reports. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad hailed the news despite skepticism from other officials. “We will believe it when we see it,” one Palestinian negotiator told the Washington Post.

The barriers only comprise a fraction of the 580 roadblocks that Israel implemented for security, and Palestine says are barriers to economic development. Israel, which has vowed to remove barriers before, also agreed to relax travel restrictions and increase work permits for Palestinians. In exchange, the Palestinian government promised to improve policing and “work to prevent terror.”