Undercover police to secure elections

Forces brace for riots after far-right activist Marzel permitted to oversee Umm el-Fahm polling station.

By
February 8, 2009 21:15
2 minute read.
Undercover police to secure elections

Israeli riot police 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Across the country's police districts, undercover investigations have been under way for weeks, searching for intelligence of plots to disrupt the voting in Tuesday's elections, The Jerusalem Post has learned. As of Sunday, police were not aware of any specific threats. Still, police will switch to the highest operation level - Level D - on election day, canceling all leave and deploying 16,000 officers around the country to secure the balloting. Based on situation analyses, every police district has been charged with providing its own manpower on Tuesday, but standby forces are available should any "unusual incidents" develop, a police source said. Police districts around the country face a variety of possible disruptions. In the South, rocket attacks could put an end to polling, and friction with the area's Beduin population could also flare up. In the central district, the potential for violence in mixed Arab-Jewish cities like Ramle, Lod and Jaffa, have led police to make special preparations for election day. Police in Jerusalem have also made preparations, as have forces in Judea and Samaria. Police forces in the North, meanwhile, are getting ready for the prospect of serious rioting, a scenario made more real following a decision by the Central Elections Committee to allow far-Right activist Baruch Marzel to oversee a polling station in the Arab town of Umm el-Fahm. Marzel's presence will be seen by the town's residents as a severe provocation. A spokeswoman for the Amakim Police, which has jurisdiction over Umm el-Fahm, said, "We are preparing for every situation, and are holding regular situation analyses." The spokeswoman said no further details could be provided. The former head of the police's northern district, Cmdr. (ret.) Yaakov Borovsky, said police should not offer Marzel special security arrangements if he chose to enter the town. Borovsky, who was head of operations during the 1980s when Meir Kahane attempted to enter Arab towns in the North, said Kahane "didn't go into these places" after he was warned of the danger. "The minute Marzel has been warned that he is in danger, and still decides to go in, the responsibility is on him," Borovsky told the Post. "If you ask me, there is a good chance nothing will happen," he added. "And if something does happen, there will be a police officer at the station and he can call for backup. Police are spread out across the country for election day, and forces can't be spared especially for Marzel. If he wants to go, let him go." Police will be aided by over 4,500 security guards who have been recruited to help secure the polling centers, as well as 2,500 police volunteers.

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