State Control C'tee at W. Bank barrier 311.
(photo credit: Melanie Lidman)
Noting that the security situation in Jerusalem affects the entire country,
members of the Knesset State Control Committee toured the “Jerusalem Envelope”
with local police and border patrol on Sunday in an effort to better understand
the day-today operations of security on the capital’s borders and the flow of
people in and out of the territories.
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The Jerusalem envelope refers to
the eastern borders of the city, where municipality lands meet lands controlled
by the Palestinian Authority.
MK Yoel Hasson (Kadima), the head of the
State Control Committee, and Committee member Uri Ariel (National Union) both
noted that procedures needed to be improved and streamlined at the Kalandiya
checkpoint, Jerusalem’s biggest checkpoint which serves 24,000 people per day.
Ariel was also surprised to learn that parts of the Jerusalem municipality, such
as Kafr Aqab, are located on the other side of Kalandiya, and noted that the
Control Committee would meet soon to discuss shortages and difficulties faced by
the 60,000 residents living inside Jerusalem but on the other side of the
“I came to see the ‘Jerusalem envelope’ because I want to know if
things are really working on a security level, also for our residents and also
for the Palestinians that are passing through,” said Hasson at the overlook of
the Nabi Samuel monument north of Ramot.
“Jerusalem needs to be open and
accessible, but also needs to defend her borders so that she will be safe,” he
Hasson praised the “difficult decision” by former prime minister
Ariel Sharon to build the security barrier but added that its route was not
permanent and not the final borders of a Palestinian state. “It could move and
it could change,” he said. “The final borders will be decided in a negotiation
Police and border police lead the tour of Kalandiya, Nabi Samuel,
Atarot, and Mezudat Adumim, the new border police base located in the area of
There are 16 border crossings in the Jerusalem area between areas
controlled by the PA and Israel, four of which are major checkpoints, and the
rest are crossings such as Hizme where most Israeli cars are waved through.
Brig.-Gen. Mani Yitzhaki explained that the police and border patrol are moving
toward privatizing the daily operations at the major checkpoints, which would
free up police and border control for security situations
Modi’in Ezrahi, a private security company that also operates
in east Jerusalem and the Old City guarding Jewish residents in predominantly
Arab neighborhoods, won the tender and has been working at Kalandiya for more
than a year and a half.