Indictment Handed Down Against ‘Serial Smuggler’ of Illegal Arabs

An IDF checkpoint. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Border Guards in recent days arrested a Yerushalayim resident who is accused of smuggling illegal Arabs into Israel, police said Wednesday. The woman, an Arab resident of Yerushalayim in her 40s who has a permit to travel throughout the country, was caught red-handed with four illegal Arabs hidden in the trunk of her vehicle at a checkpoint outside Yerushalayim. Under questioning, the driver admitted that she picked up several of the illegal Arabs in the Arab village of Anata in Shomron, and several more on the way to Yerushalayim. For her services, she charged the four a total of NIS 700.

This was at least the third time that this same person was caught transporting illegal Arabs in her trunk. Records show she was arrested in June 2018 for carrying two illegal Arabs into Israel, charging her “clients” NIS 250 each.

In January of this year she attempted to bypass a checkpoint, but quick-thinking police placed a spike strip on the road which she drove over, blowing her tires out and disabling her vehicle. She was found driving one illegal passenger, whom she had charged NIS 500 for the ride. In all cases, the illegal Arabs were sent back to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.

For various reasons, she was questioned and released after the first two incidents – but after her third arrest, police said they would prosecute her “harshly,” with an indictment handed down Wednesday that includes all of her previous violations. Prosecutors intend to ask for jail time. Meanwhile, she is in custody until the end of proceedings against her, police said, and they have seized two vehicles owned by her that were used in the smuggling operation.

Security officials told Channel 20 that the arrest was part of a wider-ranging operation that has been implemented in recent days to track down and halt the illegal smuggling operation. The officials said that the new operation “is a significant step forward in dealing with this issue compared to what we have been doing.” Dozens of arrests of illegal Arabs have been made in recent days in areas around PA-controlled areas, and illegals from Hevron, Ramallah, Jenin, Tul Karem, Shechem, and dozens of villages have been arrested. The arrests are the result of new technology that has been implemented to identify illegal Arabs.