Dec 28, 2010

Increased Arab Violence In Bet Shemesh Area

This post is the result of a conversation with someone yesterday. The statistics mentioned are not scientific, and are unofficial, though very good.

The 2 Arab murderers who slaughtered the missionary in the woods last week were caught the other day.

They were in an empty apartment in Bet Shemesh. A policemen told a person at the site that there have been 22 violent attacks (at least 2 ended in murder) from Arabs in the past 2 years in BS / RBS / surrounding hills, with 3 occurring in BS and RBS.

The officer speculated that the reason for the increase in violence is because this is the only area not covered by the security fence and that was to allow for a corridor to be built from the West Bank to Gaza. Perhaps, given the location of Gush Etzion and Beitar Illit, the intention is to incorporate them and therefore not build a wall with them on the other side. And politically it's sensitive to address Arab crime. Note that RBS-A has had 8 schools robbed (completely stripped) in the past 4 weeks, on Shabbos (each time) - yet again the police are not addressing it.

And given the crimes included stealing 2 different school's "farm/pet" areas (meaning the schools had 2-4 sheep and goats), it's pretty clearly Arab.

The theory seems to be partially supported, that is why the increase in violence due to the lack of a security fence in the area though not why there is no security fence in the area, by an article written in Haaretz today by  the organization called "Security Fence For Israel".

Marc Luria writes:
The problem is that if illegal workers can get past the fence so easily then so could Palestinian terrorists, and that undermines the whole point of the fence. However, the truth is that terrorists don't need to cut the wire, they can simply go around the fence. For example, there is no fence near Beit Shemesh.

This is not WikiLeaks - I'm not giving away state secrets. I assume that most Palestinians know exactly where the fence is built and where it is not, but unfortunately, most Israelis (and our Knesset members ) have no idea. The last map on the Defense Ministry's website shows a gaping hole near Beit Shemesh, but it's hard to say what is accurate, since that map is dated 2006.

In addition to a real terrorist threat, there is also the issue of responsibility. If there would be a terrorist attack in northern Israel near Jenin, or in central Israel near Qalqilyah, there would be immediate investigations in the army and the Border Police as to how the perpetrators successfully crossed the security fence, and someone would be held responsible. Those areas have a security fence that works. If an attack happens in a place without a fence, for example near Beit Shemesh, there is no responsibility, there is no border, the Border Police would have no idea where the attackers came from or where they went.

Anyone who lives in the Beit Shemesh area is quite aware of the situation. A friend from Ramat Beit Shemesh told me that on Shabbat afternoons he often sees dozens of Palestinians walking through the nearby fields. He was told that since the Border Police has patrols on Saturday night and Sunday morning to catch the Palestinians coming to work in Israel, they come on Saturday afternoon. We all realize that 99% of the Palestinians coming here are not terrorist or criminals, but if these workers can get into Israel, so can the people who want to do us harm.

Ms. Hammerman also refers to the fact that the Border Police sometimes turn a blind eye to these laborers entering Israel. I believe that this is partly due to the fact that the fence is not finished - they realize that they cannot stop everyone given their resources, they are too busy. One could only imagine what would happen to a policeman in passport control at Ben-Gurion Airport who would decide to let an entire line of people at passport control enter because the lines were too long.

The State of Israel has been building the security fence for eight years and is still not finished. This is mind-boggling given that fact that our current leadership are all strong supporters of the fence. Most of the fence was built while Ariel Sharon was prime minister, Shaul Mofaz was defense minister and Moshe Ya'alon was the IDF chief of staff. All three expressed either outright opposition to the fence, or in the best case, lukewarm support, but were forced to build it because of public opinion.
What Can You Do?

People need to realize that the local environment is changing. You should increase safety precautions. Lock your doors, know whats going on in your area.

Further, contact and address government ministers or parties to give BS some attention and resources to deal with a growing problem.

Another option is always consider joining Mishmar Ezrachi and/or forming some sort of neighborhood watch.

A recent petition arranged by Rabbi Dov Lipman has gotten the attention of the Minister of Internal Security and is expecting to get involved. The time might be ripe for people to be contacting him along with other government officials, letting them know that the situation is ongoing and serous.


  1. Christine Logan was not a missionary she was a "peace activist."

  2. Dov Lipman's petition:
    Kol Hacavod to Dov who works tirelessly for the community and invests so much time and energy to make R/BS a better place for us all.


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