IDF Admits to Massive Palestinian Infiltration

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint Tuesday. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
Israeli army soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint Tuesday. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

The IDF chief-of-staff revealed to a Knesset committee on Monday that an underfunded military has been unable to prevent over 50,000 Palestinians from illegally infiltrating every day from Palestinian-controlled territories in Yehudah and Shomron.

The security implications were noted by Knesset State Control Committee Chairwoman MK Karin Elharar (Yesh Atid), who said that 44 percent of the terror attacks this year were perpetrated by Palestinians who were in the country without permits.

Chief-of-Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot attributed failure to seal the borders to a funding shortfall which has slowed completion of the border security fence. “There is still 100 kilometers (about 65 miles) without a security wall. Two parts are lacking 260 million shekels to be built in the Tarkumia and Yerushalayim areas.”

Eisenkot said that there are 101,000 Palestinian workers legally coming into Israel daily, and that “from those with entry permits there have not been terrorists in the recent wave, and I think, even going back a decade. We are making great efforts to close off the open border areas.” Major holes in border security exist around Battir and Gush Etzion, he said.

The IDF is making every effort to catch the infiltrators, but only 4,300 infiltrators are arrested each year, he said.

Finishing the wall alone won’t stop the incoming illegal traffic, however. Many Palestinians resort to unauthorized crossings only after becoming exasperated with the bureaucracy. Expediting the approval process for obtaining work permits in Israel will relieve pressure to enter illegally.