Four months ago, Israel’s wave of terror attacks, several of which were perpetrated by Palestinians who illegally entered Israel, caused an uproar about the phenomenon of Palestinians entering Israel through the many breaches in the security fence.
The IDF and Defense Ministry quickly responded to the many pointed fingers, vowing to repair the gaps in the fence and increase the number of soldiers in the area.
But four months later, IDF reservists are frustrated, saying that they feel completely helpless against the hundreds of illegal Palestinians who still enter Israel every day, Yisrael Hayom reported on Monday.
There was an initial improvement in the situation. In the wake of the terror wave, the IDF deployed additional troops to secure the fence, resulting in tens of thousands of illegal Palestinians being prevented from entering Israel.
However, reservists told Yisrael Hayom that hundreds of Palestinians still pass through the breaches on a daily basis or use ladders to climb over the fence.
“They gave us tiny i10 Hyundai vehicles to fight terror,” one reservist said. “The infiltrators make a joke out of us and cross the fence – they cut openings in the fence and hurry inside. It has to be said that it’s very organized and that there are Bedouins who are running the entire operation. Also, those we do apprehend come right back in a kind of revolving door situation. There was a point where they asked us to record their names and let them go.”
The reservists really got angry when two weeks ago, some of them were redeployed to try to prevent Jewish settlers from establishing illegal Jewish outposts.
“All of a sudden, when they’re building an outpost, they don’t need soldiers to guard the fence? Come on, be serious. This isn’t why we reported for reserve duty, and it proves just how questionable our effectiveness really is.”
“The army needs to decide if it wants to invest resources to guard the fence and stop the illegal infiltrators, and then also act against the Bedouins who are managing the whole thing, or reassign us to other, more critical tasks where we’ll actually be effective,” said another reservist.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in response: “As part of Operation Break The Wave to prevent terrorist attacks, the IDF is working along the seam area and has reinforced the Yehuda and Shomron Division with additional battalions and advanced technological tools, and it is moving forward with the engineering work to seal off the seam zone. The IDF values reserve duty in general, and during Operation Break The Wave in particular. Those who serve in the reserves are provided the tools to carry out their mission and any logistical gaps that arise receive an appropriate response.”
“The deployment of soldiers and the construction of the security barrier in the seam zone in Midbar Yehudah is a significant facet of Israel’s defense. The operation has led to a significant drop in the number of infiltrators seeking to cross into Israel illegally. Crossing into Israel unchecked represents a security threat and a severe violation of the law, and therefore IDF soldiers are deployed in the area in accordance with situational assessments to optimally maintain the security of the residents.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)