View from the hills: Will they turn on us again?

Ironically it is Jews with Israeli identity cards who are forbidden under Israeli law from traveling or even setting foot in area A.

July 18, 2012 22:42
3 minute read.


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Despite accusations of Israel carrying out policies of “ethnic cleansing” or “apartheid” against the Arabs living throughout Judea and Samaria, simply traveling the roads of areas B or C, where Jewish and Arab motorists are in fact sharing the same pavement, disproves this accusation.

Ironically it is the Jews with Israeli identity cards who are forbidden under Israeli law from traveling or even setting foot in area A, which fall under complete Palestinian security and municipal control. Sometimes this discrimination can make traveling a complete hassle for Jewish commuters.

A perfect example is the Arab-only highway known as the “Quality of Life” road, which runs east/west, located just north of the Jewish community of Beit Horon and connecting Route 443 to Ramallah.

Arabs living in villages along the route can get to Ramallah in a matter of minutes, but Jews who are trying to get to communities in the western Binyamin region are forced into a complete loop heading west up 443, then north, and finally east, taking close to an hour to get to places like Talmon, Dolev and other towns.

Despite the delays on the roads and the overall restrictions on Jews entering area A, I have no doubt that most Israelis refrain from trying to visit Ramallah, Jenin and Tulkarem, etc., not because of the law, but because of fears that exploration of these areas might become a one-way trip.

The images of the bloody hands proudly held up for the cameras outside a Ramallah window by a young Palestinian – one of the members of the lynch mob who brutally murdered two Israeli reservists who made a wrong turn and entered the city during the second intifada, only to be captured and beaten to death with their bodies thrown out the window and dragged through the streets – no doubt still resonates with those of us whose long-term (or perhaps one could argue short-term) memories remain intact.

It is those images and the thousands of others from that war of terror that send shivers down my spine when I see official Palestinian Authority police vehicles traveling freely alongside me on the roads in areas B and C. I often find myself wondering about those officers in the car next to me. The PA security force is made up of approx. 4,000 armed men spread throughout eight battalions, supposedly tasked with “keeping the peace” and “fighting the terrorists” from groups like Hamas – who received their training from US military officials in Jordan and were granted approval by Israel to openly carry semi-automatic Kalashnikov rifles.

What if, as was the case in 2000, the Palestinian leadership orders its security officers – more like soldiers – to turn their guns on Israeli motorists, both civilians and soldiers? It certainly isn’t comforting to remember that one of the first Israelis murdered in that pre-mediated war of terror upon the collapse of Camp David on September 29, 2000, was Border Police Supt. Yosef Tabeja, 27, of Ramle, who was shot to death by his Palestinian counterpart on a joint patrol near Kalkilya.

Seeing decals of the official Fatah emblem (which includes a rifle, bayonet and hand grenade and a map of the entire country labeled “Palestine”) on green-license-plated Palestinian 12-seater taxis is also less than reassuring.

But perhaps I’m just being paranoid. A superficial glance at this week’s headlines emanating from the PA might lead one to believe that a third intifada is a figment of my imagination. As reported in this newspaper by senior IDF correspondent Yaakov Katz on July 2, the PA recently carried out a “crackdown on crime and corruption in the West Bank,” by arresting 150 suspects and confiscating 100 weapons. According to the article, Israel views this “as a milestone for the PA as it imposes its rule and authority throughout the territory.”

One might have a sense of optimism from this apparently positive development. But a closer look reveals just the opposite. Katz explains: “Many of those arrested are former members of Fatah’s Al-Aksa Martyrs’ Brigades as well as a number of rogue officers from the Palestinian National Security Forces, the PA’s main counter-terrorism arm trained by the US in Jordan.”

So, despite the relative quiet we have been experiencing in Judea and Samaria – don’t get me wrong, attacks still take place on a daily basis, but not at the levels and severity experienced during the first half of the last decade – as long as the men in the car next to me traveling in an official “PA police vehicle,” there is room for angst.

The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist, and host of Reality Bytes Radio.

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