How Israel's checkpoints prevent disaster:
The tragic story of Ori Binamo

Published: 4 January 2006
Briefing Number 164

Click to Printclick here to print page

Summary: An Israeli army officer was blown up by a Palestinian suicide bomber at an Israeli checkpoint when he intercepted the bomber as he was trying to enter Israel, reportedly to attack Chanukah festivities. The incident illustrates the rationale for Israel’s checkpoints, and the human cost which Israel is paying for being forced by Palestinian terror groups to maintain them.

Israel’s checkpoints – for and against

Israel has established many checkpoints across the West Bank, manned by soldiers and by border police.

From time to time, they are relocated, or dismantled. But as warnings of attacks increase, the number of checkpoints increases too.

Israel justifies the checkpoints as a way of intercepting armed attacks on Israel, especially suicide bombings.

The Palestinians, and Israel’s critics, focus solely on the Palestinian perspective. They criticise the checkpoints for harming the human rights of Palestinians, for inconveniencing and frustrating them, and for reducing freedom of movement.

Israel’s critics often ignore evidence that the checkpoints save innocent Israeli lives. And they suggest that it is only the Palestinians that suffer because of the checkpoints.

This Briefing (based on news reports in Haaretz and in the Jerusalem Post, 30 December 2005) challenges those perceptions.

Suicide bombing attack at Israeli checkpoint

On 29 December 2005, Israel received intelligence that a Palestinian suicide bomber was attempting to enter Israel.

According to some news reports, the intelligence showed that the bomber’s intended target was festivities taking place in Israel to mark Chanukah.

The Israel army quickly established a temporary checkpoint near the West Bank town of Tulkarm, and the Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz.

Shortly afterwards, troops stopped a Palestinian taxi at the checkpoint. The vehicle was approached by 21-year old Israeli army officer Ori Binamo.

The three Palestinian occupants of the taxi got out. One of them raised his shirt to reveal a 10-kilogram bomb belt.

He blew himself up, killing Binamo.

Several Israeli soldiers were wounded. The Palestinian taxi driver was killed together with a Palestinian accomplice of the bomber, who was in the taxi.

According to a Palestinian doctor who treated the injured, a four-year old Palestinian boy was wounded, together with seven other Palestinians.

The death of Lieutenant Binamo, saving the lives of others

Ori Binamo was, according to reports, a much-loved soldier who devoted himself to the welfare of his comrades and was due for promotion in two months. The commanding officer of his Brigade stated as follows:-

“Ori Binamo was an officer who was loved and very professional. He carried out his role, and saved – with his body – the lives of dozens of innocent Israeli civilians….”

Reports indicated that the bomb belt was large, and would have caused great carnage if it would have been detonated in a crowd of civilians.
At Binamo’s funeral, his father read out a letter which his son had written at the age of 14, expressing the hope that all of the people of the world could become friends and live in peace.


Israel’s checkpoints save innocent lives. In this case the checkpoint saved many lives.

Attention focuses on how Israel’s checkpoints inconvenience Palestinians (which no-one can deny).

But few pay attention to the cost to Israeli society of the checkpoints.

In this episode, the death of Ori Binamo brought tragedy and devastation to his family, friends and community.

Israel does not choose to maintain its West Bank checkpoints. It is forced to.

The root cause of the checkpoints is Palestinian terror. If that terror stops, and the Palestinians are no longer poised to resume terrorist activities, then Israel would have no justification for the checkpoints.

Related Beyond Images Briefings

Roadblocks, checkpoints and the security fence – barriers to peace, or barriers to terror ? (Briefing 5)

The section in All Briefings on Israel’s Security Fence