Engelman & Gonen at one of the breaches in the security fence
Engelman & Gonen at one of the breaches in the security fence Spokesperson

On Thursday, state comptroller Matanyahu Engelman and the head of the South Sharon Regional Authority Oshrat Ganei Gonen toured an area around the security barrier near the town of Matan and examined the many breaches in the fence there.

The gaps in the fence they showed media are just a few of the many that exist along the hundreds of kilometers of the barrier. Some of the gaps are even large enough for a person to drive across in a vehicle.

Engelman related that for the last few months, inspections have been taking place along the fence, but he called out the government for its "significant and substantive failures" on the issue. He also highlighted ridiculous quirks in police regulations that only permit an indictment to be served against a Palestinian infiltrator after he has been arrested three times.

מבקר המדינה אנגלמן בפרצת גדר ההפרדה ערן אבידור

"Israel is now experiencing a murderous wave of terrorism against civilians," Engelman said. "I share in the grief of the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. I also pray for the success of our security forces.

"We have been making an intensive study of the security fence issues over the past few months," he added. "The situation is one of substantive and significant failures. Over eight billion shekels were invested in the entire project, with five billion going toward erecting the security barrier itself. A further 140 million shekels are invested each year in reinforcements and other such operations.

"Despite that, we can clearly see the breaches here, breaches through which thousands of Palestinians with or without work permits pass every single day, with no security check. Some gaps are even large enough to drive a car through them. Here, you can see how easy it was for the terrorist to reach Bnei Brak from Jenin, in under an hour. In our audit work, we are now examining the operational response, maintenance and control following government decisions.

"We also need to examine the question of enforcement," Engelman stressed. "It makes no sense that we can only indict an infiltrator after he has been caught three times. The policy must be changed in order to make enforcement effective."

Engelman noted that in the past, the security fence was lauded as making a significant contribution to national security, "but in its current state, it is simply irrelevant. The government must now invest the necessary resources and ensure that all the gaps are closed."

Gonen added, "For years, we have been warning the Defense Ministry and the Public Security Ministry that our security needs are being ignored. It is ridiculously easy to cross the fence. All that we are asking - and now it is so plainly clear how rightly so - is for the breaches to be sealed shut and for security forces to be stationed along the length of the barrier, giving us the sense of security we need."