(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
The quality of counterfeit Israeli identity cards produced by Palestinians has increased in recent months, IDF officers warned on Thursday.
According to the officers, forged blue Israeli identity cards make it more difficult to identify a Palestinian who is trying to illegally cross into Israel, in most cases for work and in some cases to participate or assist in terrorism.
"We have found a lot of forged documents recently," said Maj.-Gen. Oz Arad, commander of the Syfan Military Police Company. "The quality of the forgery is a big problem, and places like the town of Kalandiya [north of Jerusalem] which is also Israeli and Palestinian makes it all the more difficult."
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) issued a report last month warning that the involvement of Palestinians who illegally entered Israel for work in terrorist activity was increasing due to difficulties their groups were facing in establishing operational infrastructure inside Israeli cities.
Drivers of Palestinians illegally entering Israel have been used before to help infiltrate suicide bombers into the country. The most recent involvement was in the April 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv's Neveh Sha'anan neighborhood, in which nine people were killed.
On Wednesday, the Syfan Company held a ceremony after completing a yearlong intensive course during which it spent three weeks at every different roadblock and crossing in the West Bank. The companies replaced went to training and furlough.
In June, Arad's company captured 21 Palestinians as they tried to infiltrate Jerusalem by hiding in the trunk of a passenger bus. The bus was driven by an Israeli-Arab from Eilat who did not have a driver's license. Each Palestinian paid NIS 200 for the drive from Hebron into Jerusalem. Seven of the Palestinians were transferred to the Shin Bet for questioning.
"During this period, we saw action in every part of the West Bank," Arad said, adding that Syfan arrested 200 Palestinians illegally entering Israel as well as 400 people who were wanted by the Shin Bet.