IDF soldier illegally enters Bethlehem for the second time in a week

For the second time in just over a week, Palestinian security forces apprehended an off-duty IDF soldier who had entered Bethlehem armed with his service-issue M-16 rifle Sunday. The soldier, who was handed over to IDF DCO representatives, said that he and a civilian had entered the Area A city -which is under full Palestinian security control, in order to fix his vehicle. Entering Area A is illegal for Israeli citizens, and the soldier is likely to find himself facing a military police investigation and even a jail sentence. Only last week, three Israelis, including an off-duty IDF soldier armed with his service-issue M-16 were arrested by Palestinian Authority police after they entered the Judean city, allegedly to view the Christmas tree on display at the Church of the Nativity. One day later, after a disciplinary hearing, the 19-year-old solider was sentenced to 28 days in an IDF lockup.