border police 88.
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Much of the VIP list of the Israel Police was present at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel Wednesday as the summary of Border Police activity in 2006 gave them a rare opportunity to celebrate. In addition to the data released in The Jerusalem Post Tuesday that the number of complaints against troops dropped drastically, Border Police officials highlighted the success of the organization's elite units and success in reducing car theft and illegal Palestinian laborers.
Throughout 2006, Border Police apprehended 152,829 Palestinians working illegally in Israel. Border Police Special Forces - the Yamam and Yamas units - killed a total of 29 terrorists and arrested 193.
Border Police also apprehended 1,370 suspects wanted by the Shin Bet for questioning.
The mood at the ceremony was festive, as Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter took the podium under banners reading "Border Police is my home."
But the events of 2006, which was also a banner year for embarrassment within the Israel Police, were never far from the speaker's sentences.
In his address, Karadi addressed the tumult in the police following the release of the Zeiler Report, blasting police officers - many of whom were present - for post-report grumbling.
"Over two weeks ago, I came to a junction, at which I made the decision to finish my term in office in spite of the decision of the Zeiler Commission that I could complete my term," Karadi said. "At the same time, I made an additional decision not to join the party of people pummeling each other. This is a way that will not lead to anywhere, but a way that perhaps satisfies the drive for revenge and has no relation to the desire to repairâ€¦and to lead forward. I picked the second way."
But the chief of police, who emphasized that this was not the right venue to part from the force, also took a sentimental tone referring to his long history with the Border Police.
"It is natural to say that the Border Police is "my house," and it is true for me not just because of the fact that I began my service as a commander in the Border Police, but mostly because for me the organization was not just my home but was also in my home. [I am] someone who absorbed the culture of the unit from the day of his birth, in a house where my father was among the founders of the Border Police. For me, this is not just a saying but a fact of life."
Dichter also made reference to the events of late February, explaining that his decision to remove both Karadi and his lieutenant from office was due to organizational considerations.
"The decisions I have recently taken were not easy - not for me, not for Karadi - and apparently also not to quite a few people in Israel." Dichter added that he and Karadi had maintained a long friendship, but that "I am first obligated to the State of Israel, and only after that to friendship."
Later in the day, Karadi - who is maintaining a statesmanlike presence despite his lame duck status at the National Headquarters - met with his Rawandan counterpart, who is visiting Israel in order to pave the way for future cooperation.
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