By Avi Issacharoff
Despite repeated promises to reduce the number of roadblocks in the West Bank, Israel has in fact added dozens of new ones, according to the United Nations.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week to remove 24 roadblocks and consider additional alleviations of movement restrictions on the Palestinians. This followed a similar promise to alleviate movement restrictions that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
However, the number of roadblocks has now reached 572, an increase of 52 percent compared to 376 in August 2005, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In the past two months alone, Israel put up 40 new roadblocks, OCHA said.