The ultimate mission to Israel 8/10

ב“ה

Rafi Malachi, Commander border police of the check points in Kalandia, halfway between Jerusalem and Ramallah, informs about:

The implementation of current valid law at the interface between Israel and Yehuda and Shomron,

In the area of Yehuda & Shomron about 29.000 functionaries are employed

76,45 % men

23,55 % women

The average age of an officer is 39 years, the average seniority is 13.56 years,

87,23 % are Jewish

12,77 % are non-Jewish

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Two members of the border police

Contrary to the IDF no Arabs are serving in this unit, but Druse and Circassians.

In the years 2012 – 2014 1.316 Israelis have been killed in 329 suicidal attacks and some more thousand other terror attacks and 77.151 persons have been injured. 64 % of the suicidal terrorists were below 23 years old, 34 % between 23 and 28 years, 85 % were singles.

In Yehuda and Shomron the IDF is assuming beside the military also police functions. The police is second in the security hierarchy and is operating in two groups, the border police and the regular police.

Both are subordinated to the ministry of interior security. The total area of Yehuda and Shomron is surrounded by a border fence, which is as well the interface between Israel and Yehuda and Shomron. The total length will be 760 km.

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Shuafat
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Two members of the border police

Opposite the police station is the refugee camp Shuafat in Jerusalem, which is described already. Shuafat is within the so called „green line“ and within the borders of Israel. The inhabitants of Shuafat are known for extreme aggressively towards their Jewish neighbors. Possibly as a result of their difficult social and economical life in this suburb. Many responsible for the terror attacks in Israel are from this area. To mark a clear border between Shuafat and Jerusalem, the previous refugee camp is surrounded and separated from the neighborhoods with a wall. Instead of seeking to be a modern suburb of this area.

Only about 30 km of the border fence is actually a wall. The wall is 8 meters high and equipped with surveillance towers, barbed wire and electronic systems. Concrete wall shave been built in areas with many terror attacks, around Beth Lehem, beside Jerusalem and in the terror strongholds Tulkarem and Qualqylia. Obviously the wall serves its purpose as in these areas have been reduced drastically. Beside the wall is a fence, 2 meters high, equipped with electronic security systems. Additional safety is provided by a carefully groomed sand path, where footsteps are discovered at once and a street protected with barbed wires.  If the overall with is insufficient a concrete wall is built. On the area of the city of Jerusalem 15 secured passages are built along the borders.

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Two members of the border police

Beside the areas of Yehuda and Shomron in regular distance are the passages for persons, carts and cars providing access for Palestinian Arabs to their crop fields within the „Green Line“. Depending on their use they are open daily or in harvest times.

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To provide commuters from Yehuda and Shomron, Jewish persons and Palestinian Arabs, a hassle free passage to Israel, within the region and between the zones, important places received passages.

B’tselem noted for April 2015 a total of 96 fix control points. These are relative figures, 57 control points are within Yehuda and Shomron, between the zones and 17 (!) in the small Jewish enclave H2 in Hebron.

The remaining 22 are installed at the borders between Israel and the areas of Yehuda and Shomron.

The mobile control points are partly just concrete blocks, leading cars thru a snaky line to the control point. These are simple controls, established as needed. The most recent ones, during the knife attacks within Israel in the past weeks.

The regulations who may use the control points is complicated and difficult to understand. Here for pedestrians, there for Palestinian Arabs with an Israeli ID. At an other time for goods or just for humanitarian reasons. The constantly present pro-propalestinian NGOs, wants you to believe, that this is a arbitrary system of the IDF for chicanery and not for maintaining the law.

Credible are only reports of those who have observed the daily transit between Kalandia and Jerusalem.

Kalandia, one of the largest check points between Yehuda and Shomron and Israel, is located on the main road between Ramallah and Jerusalem and is open for all types of transportation. Mornings and evenings trucks from known Israeli companies with Palestinian drivers are passing thru the check points, private cars with Israeli number plates and pedestrians are passing the check point in both directions.

When we arrived with Rafi Malachi in Kalandia, it was about 16 o’clock and the return of persons working in Israel begins. Since no Israelis are permitted to enter Zone A, I am confused by the fact, that a large number of cars have an Israeli number plate. Rafi explained, that they are Palestinian inhabitants with a regular Israeli ID and they may move without any restrictions. It’s a very common situation.

The clearance of the cars is fast, even when two or more persons are in the car. The sight check of the papers takes no more time than in a parking or at a border, including the cars entering Israel.

For entering pedestrians are two checking lines. Owners of the Israeli ID may pass very fast through the control. Its different with persons with a Palestinian ID. At the rush hours between 5 and 7 o’clock waiting lines build up. But even then, where every single ID with photo, visa and stamps is carefully checked and compared with a wanted list, it takes not more than five up to ten minutes.

But everything must be correct! With a smallest uncertainty regarding the person or the papers, the waiting line stops and nobody is admitted to the area of control. Nobody knows how long it will take, but fortunately it does not happen often.

 

Commuters without a car use a bus until the entry side and after the control; a second bus on the other side.

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Parts of the old refugee camp Kalandia

 

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One of the old container camps of 1949

The bottle neck is the place Kalandia, which is composed of the village and the refugee camp, the second largest in Yehuda and Shomron. UNRWA describes it in their website as a village of containers, as it was in 1949. Kalandia is not beautiful, like Shuafat it is not. No village where people do not like to live is ever beautiful. But I imagined a refugee camp to look much worse. There are new buildings, after the complaint of UNWRA about a “degrading” situation in the old camp.

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Entering Kalandia is a challange!

 

To ease the life of a commuter by finding out early alternatives – yes, there are alternatives – clever students from the university in East-Jerusalem developped an App which is based on Crowd Funding. The more persons feed it with information the more accurate are the information received. The information are very simple: green = no jam, yellow = slowing traffic, red = jam.

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Beside the passage of Kalandia is the airport “Atarot”, which has been closed at the beginning of the 2nd Intifada 2001. Before the start up of the airport “Ben Gurion“ in Tel Aviv it was the only airport during the British mandate. After the occupation by Jordan in 1949 it served as an airport for East-Jerusalem, after 1967 it was an inland airfield. Today the runway is orphaned beside the border fence. The Palestinian Arabs see it as their future door to the world. How this is manageable is not clear, the airport is definitely outside of the planned state of Palestine.

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The old airport of Atarot
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Cars waiting on the Israeli side of the border – in the back the runway of the old airport Atarot

©esther scheiner, israel

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