Photo Credit: Stephen M. Flatow
Stephen M. Flatow

Critics of Israel claim Israel’s security checkpoints “restrict” and “humiliate” Palestinian travelers. They say the checkpoints force Palestinians to wait in long lines and disrupt their lives. They even say the existence of the checkpoints proves Israel still “occupies” the territories.

There’s one more fact about the checkpoints I should mention, because Israel’s critics never do: The checkpoints save lives. Many lives.


Last week, a car with six Palestinian Arab passengers approached the Mizmoriya checkpoint, which is situated between the Har Homa neighborhood of southern Jerusalem and the nearby Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Bethlehem.

Not every Arab car that approaches an Israeli checkpoint is stopped or searched. Israeli soldiers are trained to look for suspicious signs. An alert soldier noticed the front license plate of the car at the Mizmoriya checkpoint didn’t match its rear license plate. So they stopped the car.

The Obama administration used to claim that such stop-and-search activities were “humiliating” to the Palestinians. President Obama repeatedly accused Israel of failing to respect the Palestinians’ “dignity.” Former U.S. envoy Dennis Ross has claimed that Israel “controls the movement” of Palestinians and therefore is still guilty of “occupying” them (even though the PA, not Israel, rules 98 percent of the Palestinian Arabs).

Well, I, for one, am very glad the soldiers at the Mizmoriya checkpoint decided to “control the movement” of those six Palestinians for a few minutes last week. Because guess what they found hidden in the car?

Knives. Stun grenades. Materials for making firebombs.

Imagine for a moment if Israel had surrendered to the carping and whining of its critics around the world, and those soldiers didn’t “control the movement” of those six Arab terrorists. What would have been the result? Those knives and firebombs would have been used to stab and burn Jews.

Of course none of this was reported in The New York Times or on CNN. Palestinian terrorist attacks barely attract the attention of the international news media; attempted attacks receive no attention whatsoever.

The Israeli media, however, does report them. Israeli media coverage of the Mizmoriya interception mentioned that the previous week, another Palestinian terrorist was caught en route to an attack. At a different checkpoint near Bethlehem, an Arab woman with a knife was apprehended. The 36-year-old woman, a resident of the PA-ruled town of Yatta (near Hebron), confessed she was on her way to Jerusalem to stab Jews.

The six terrorists in the car, and the stabber from Yatta, may have felt “humiliated” that they were searched at Israeli checkpoints. Perhaps their “dignity” was offended that Israel was “controlling their movement.” Too bad. It’s a small price to pay for keeping everyone else safe.

Yes, it’s a shame that peaceful, law-abiding Palestinians have to be inconvenienced by waiting on line just because a minority of Palestinians likes to stab and burn Jews.

It’s also a shame that peaceful, law-abiding citizens of every country have to wait on line at security checkpoints in every airport in the world, just because there are terrorists who like to hijack and blow up planes.

But that’s the world we live in. Israel does not have to apologize for trying to survive in it.


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Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of “A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terrorism,” now available on Kindle.