Section of the security fence near Jerusalem
Section of the security fence near Jerusalem Nati Shohat/Flash90

Four months after Muhammad Al-Kian set out on his murderous spree of terror in Beer Sheva, the first of the mass attacks in the latest "wave," reserve soldiers relate their frustration at the failure to address the significant security breaches in what was once hailed as a game-changer --- the security fence.

According to reservists patrolling the seamline between Judea and Samaria, and pre-1967 Israel, hundreds of illegals cross the fence every day in an unending stream of unofficial labor -- and potential terrorism.

According to a report published in Israel Hayom, the IDF resolved to seal the fence "hermetically" in the wake of the latest wave of terror, preventing illegals from crossing. Some progress was made: large contingents of soldiers were sent to patrol the fence, including reservists, and at several known and exceptionally large breaches, soldiers were stationed in order to prevent people from passing. The operation was reportedly a success, with tens of thousands of illegals prevented from entering pre-1967 Israel.

Be that as it may, hundreds of illegals are still crossing every day, as security coverage of the fence is patchy, and PA Arabs cross not only via breaches but also clamber over the top of the fence with the help of ladders they bring for the purpose.

Soldiers posted in order to keep these people out told Israel Hayom of their feelings of impotence in face of the security threat. "They gave us little Hyundai i10s to deal with the challenges we faced, and the infiltrators were just openly mocking us as they crossed right before our eyes, cutting holes in the fence and running past. It's an organized phenomenon, run mostly by Bedouin. And it's a revolving door, with the ones we arrest being released quickly and starting up all over again. There have even been times when we were told to register their names and release them."

The situation took a turn for the worse around two weeks ago, when a significant number of the reservists assigned to patrol the fence were dispatched to deal with the Nachala movement, which was attempting to establish five new outposts in Judea and Samaria. "So suddenly now that they're building outposts, we don't need soldiers on the fence? This isn't why we do reserve duty," several sources told Israel Hayom.

Other reservists were more blunt. "The army needs to make up its mind on what its priorities are. Are they going to invest serious resources to patrol the fence and stop illegals from crossing and to deal with the Bedouin who are running this operation? And if not, they should just redeploy us to areas where we can actually make a difference."

Approached for a response, the IDF issued a statement saying, "As part of the operation to stop infiltrators and prevent terror, the IDF operates along the seamline and is adding to the numbers of forces deployed to those areas, and also utilizing advanced technological methods as well as overseeing engineering operations to seal off the fence where necessary. The IDF greatly values our reservists and especially those posted to seamline areas, where they are provided with the means needed to execute their duties. Any logistical lacunae identified are dealt with in a timely manner.

"Placement of soldiers along the seamline in the Judean Desert is a significant security measure that protects the State of Israel. To date, this operation has led to a significant decline in the number of infiltrators, and the continued deployment of soldiers to these areas is coordinated with the specific needs of each place and time."