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Israeli checkpoints opposed

February 14, 2008|From the Associated Press

JERUSALEM — A group of retired Israeli generals has launched a campaign urging the army to remove West Bank roadblocks, warning on Wednesday that the travel restrictions sow Palestinian hatred of Israel and stymie the peace process.

The 12 former top commanders say that the hundreds of checkpoints dotting the West Bank are excessive and that other military means can be used to prevent suicide bombings in Israel.

The Palestinians have long demanded that Israel remove the roadblocks as a way to build faith in recently renewed peace talks.

The generals have written a letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak in an effort to persuade him to gradually remove the checkpoints, which severely restrict movement of about 2 million Palestinians who live in the West Bank and have crippled their economy.

Israel says the checkpoints are vital for its security.

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