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Thursday, January 20, 2022

‘Separation fence?’ Residents of seam-line live in constant fear

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(A7) The separation fence that runs through the Israeli countryside, mostly along the “green line,” was supposed to be 708 kilometers in length. Just 525 kilometers have been constructed, however, and it is common knowledge that even the segments that have already been built are porous in many areas, allowing for multiple Palestinians to move back and forth every single day, mostly – but not all – seeking employment.

What is even more ridiculous is that in many areas, just a few dozen meters from official crossings manned by IDF soldiers conducting rigorous security checks, breaches in the fence allow a constant influx of Palestinians, unimpeded, virtually under the noses of security forces.

A new report now published by Israel Hayom has revealed the extent of the problem, noting that the “unofficial crossings” are now such an accepted feature of life in Israel that taxis and even buses are often to be found on the Israeli side, waiting to ferry Palestinians to their places of employment – which are sometimes also “unofficial,” as the breaches in the fence also serve car thieves, smugglers, and other criminals who embitter the lives of Jews living in these seam areas. There have been reported instances of Palestinians infiltrating communities near breaches in the fence and committing sexual assaults against the residents, as well as terrorists seeking to perpetrate attacks – and sometimes succeeding.

Residents describe the failure of the IDF and Border Police to adequately deal with the phenomenon, and in many instances, it isn’t clear who is actually responsible for dealing with it. In any case, most areas where breaches are located don’t have security forces posted nearby on a regular basis.

Worse still, some residents allege that the security forces are well aware of what is going on, but choose to turn a blind eye to the breaches and infiltrators, with their reasoning being that it keeps the situation at the regular crossings from becoming too tense, with delays processing the Palestinians who want to enter. Understandably, many residents also describe living in constant fear of the illegal infiltrators, and in some areas, they have banded together to form private security patrols. “The government is only going to wake up when there’s a huge terrorist attack,” they say.

Danny Miller, security coordinator in Moshav Ram-On in the Gilboa region, described a breach in the fence a few hundred meters away from the Jilma crossing. “You get entire motorcades of vehicles coming through here. Thieves from the Palestinian Authority cut the fence with electric power saws – they play cat and mouse with the army, which came to fix the hole four times last month, and they just open it up again the next day.”

The situation is the same further south in the Matteh Yehudah region. Gil Mastey and Dr. Shemaryahu Ben Pazi from Moshav Aderet related, “Tens of thousands of residential units are being built in the Beit Shemesh area, and who’s building them? Illegal Palestinians who enter the country every day via breaches in the fence. Everyone knows; no one pays any attention. Every night there are break-ins, with thieves entering the nearby communities. In fact, the thieves don’t always wait for nightfall; they steal from homes in broad daylight too. They are becoming more and more brazen.”

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