כביש 55 רוני בר

Residents of the western part of Samaria, near Route 55 and the Palestinian Authority-controlled town of Qalqilya, have resolved to launch a determined struggle against the recent phenomenon of the IDF and Border Police turning a blind eye to Palestinian infiltrators crossing the security fence via its many breaches.

Every single morning, literally thousands of Palestinian Arabs without legal permits can be found crossing the fence via one or other of its holes, on their way to work. The section of the security fence near Qalqilya, a segment around two kilometers in length, is known to be porous, and residents claim that not only illegals pass through, but also weapons and other dangerous items that threaten Israel’s security.

Yehonatan Kozhnitz, who is heading the struggle on behalf of around thirty thousand local Jewish residents, told Arutz Sheva that, “The ease with which people can pass through the security fence serves to illustrate the way in which the country is neglecting its duty to provide security here. From here to actual acts of violence and nationalistic attacks, such as we have been experiencing more and more in recent months, is a very short road. We have to correct this and restore security and the rule of law to this area,” he said.

Kozhnitz also described how, “They even set up a ‘pirate’ taxi stand here for all the infiltrators, so that they can pick up a shuttle to the center of the country.

“Over the past few months,” he added, “we have been witness to a significant increase in the number of violent attacks on Jews in the area around Route 55, which is the main traffic artery for western Samaria and the communities of Alfei Menasheh, Tzofim, Karnei Shomron, Kedumim, and Emmanuel. This simply has to be dealt with, and we will remain silent no longer.”

Last week, MK Simcha Rotman of the Religious Zionism party visited the area to protest against the blind eye being turned at the situation by the security forces.

“I came here to protest, together with the residents of Karnei Shomron, Alfei Menasheh, and Kedumim, against the state’s abandonment of security on Route 55,” Rotman wrote on his Facebook page. “Every single day thousands, if not tens of thousands of workers from Qalqilya enter Israel via breaches in the fence, under the very noses of the IDF and Border Police. This neglect of our security needs leads to terrible traffic jams, road accidents, and of course to the danger of terrorist attacks being perpetrated on Route 55, a road that is the lifeline for local residents. And as for this imaginary security fence, in practice only Israelis are stopped and checked whereas Palestinians cross through the gaps with impunity.”

The IDF issued a response stating: “Damage to the fence and the creation of breaches in it enables people to pass through without being checked, and this endangers security and is also illegal. The IDF is deployed in the area in accordance with situation assessments and engages in a variety of operations in accordance with open-fire regulations, against anyone who is identified as a danger, a terrorist, or a security threat.

“The IDF will continue to act against all security threats stemming from damage to the security fence and the infiltration into Israel via its breaches.”

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