'Lawless Civil Administration officer put lives at risk'

Samaria Council head writes to Defense Minister after Jewish archaeologists arrested by PA police.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Yossi Dagan
Yossi Dagan
Yoni Kempinski

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan wrote a sharp letter to Defense Minister MK Naftali Bennett on Monday after archaeologists in Area C were detained by Palestinian Authority police and were ordered to hand their weapons to the PA police by an Israeli officer.

"This is an irresponsible order and an incident that could have ended in an event such as the lynching in Ramallah," wrote Yossi Dagan to the Defense Minister, "It is inconceivable that an officer in the Civil Administration would order an Israeli civilian to hand over weapons to terrorists in Palestinian Authority uniforms."

According to Dagan, "Beyond the humiliation that this entails and the subordination of the national interest, there is clear security lawlessness. The procedures for this type of event must be clarified immediately. After all, Evyatar Borovsky, Rabbi Meir Chai, Ben Yosef Livnat, and Rabbi Sergeant Ihab Khatib were murdered by 'Palestinian" police.'"

"Following the lynching [of two Israelis] in Ramallah, which Palestinian police officers gave their support to, a civil administraton officer cannot order a civilian to hand over his weapon to a 'Palestinian' policeman and thereby endanger his life," he added.

This morning, three archaeologists from “Preserving the Eternal” set out to the Tel Parsin site in northern Samaria, in an area under full Israeli jurisdiction, to inspect and document damage to the site.

The site, which is a 5-minute drive from the Jewish community of Hermesh in northern Samaria, preserves the biblical name 'Parash' (a descendant of Menashe) and the Talmudic name 'Kfar Parshai.'

The team of archaeologists encountered a Palestinian Authority police checkpoint - in an area under full Israeli control, where Palestinian Authority police are not permitted to operate, and most certainly may not bear arms.

"The Palestinian Police officers demanded that we get our of our vehicles, and we refused," says Melet. "These were unpleasant moments, but the situation was more infuriating than frightening. After contacting the IDF, and with the mediation of Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, the Palestinian policemen decided to “hand us over” us to the IDF at the nearby Dotan checkpoint."

COGAT said in response: "A preliminary investigation of the incident indicates that the settlers who arrived today at the archaeological site did so without permission. On April 30, 2020 (last Thursday), they applied to the spatial division for permission to enter the site - but this was not approved, Partly because of the presence of the coronavirus 'blockade' of the Palestinian security forces on the access road to this site, which has been approved by all security agencies."

"Also, contrary to the allegation, the Civil Administration officer did not say, direct or ask the Palestinian security forces to remove the weapons at the archaeological site."

"We regret that interested parties choose to discredit the activities of the Civil Administration by disseminating false information - while the unit's officers are constantly working, including at this specific event - to safeguard and preserve the fabric of life of all Judea and Samaria residents. An incident involving the taking of the weapons by the Palestinian police officers was carried out in contravention of the usual procedures and will be investigated accordingly. "