Judea, Samaria Border Police changes guard

An era or, as some at the ceremony in Beit El termed it, "a dynasty," ended Tuesday afternoon amid trumpets and compliments from police and IDF commanders as Lt.-Cmdr. Yitah Avraham ended his term as Border Police commander in Judea and Samaria after five years. "I can look back on this whole period with satisfaction," said Avraham, adding, "Five years is a long enough period to make real changes and to convey a real set of values." Avraham - and the IDF commanders who worked with him in the West Bank - emphasized the importance of cooperation among the security forces. The officers praised Avraham's role in strengthening that cooperation. Lt.-Cmdr. Shlomi Even-Paz, until now in charge of the Border Police's operations and instruction branch, took over from Avraham on Tuesday. In turn, Avraham was promoted to be deputy commander of the force. Avraham's boss, Border Police chief Cmdr. Hassin Faris, said that since the war last summer, Border Police in Judea and Samaria have increasingly performed tasks previously carried out by IDF infantrymen, who have now been redeployed to the North. Even-Paz, Faris said, faces a situation in which his resources may soon be overextended, as Border Police troops now have four missions in the West Bank: maintaining the "seam line," controlling riots and protests, working in coordination with Palestinian Authority police and waging war against terrorists.