'Seam line' residents say they are unprotected following the removal of Border Police

Residents of the seam line area councils complained Monday that the government is abandoning their security, leaving them exposed to terror attacks. The complaint stemmed from the fact that five companies of Border Police been assigned to guard Green Line-area communities had been reassigned to urban centers. "The Border Police forces have completely disappeared from the field," Col. (res.) Dubi Dekel, security coordinator for Israel's Organization of Regional Councils, said. The organization, which expressed its concern about the development, said that the withdrawal of Border Police troops had abandoned "tens of thousands of residents, leaving them without any security backup against terror and agricultural crimes." The organization added that the community police officers who had worked in many of the affected areas were also slated to be redeployed to urban centers. Dekel said that he had recently come across a "secret Border Police study" that had been conducted to identify which security volunteers in the affected areas had an infantry-grade combat certification. Those people, Dekel said, would be expected to fill the place of the absent Border Police troops. "The Israel Police, the police chief and the public security minister are abandoning the residents of the rural sector," said Shmuel Reifman, chairman of the Center for Regional Councils. "Taking Border Police units away from the seam line area leaves all the security responsibility to volunteers and to the alert teams from the councils which were only meant to reinforce and support the regular troops." Regional council heads said that when the seam line area was transferred from police to IDF authority pending the construction of the security fence, they were told that the IDF would be responsible only for the area immediately surrounding the fence, and that police would continue to oversee the security of neighboring communities. "The vacuum that has been created will cause the residents to take the law into their own hands, and it won't be long until an incident similar to the one with Shai Dromi, or worse, will occur," said Reifman. "A terror cell could cross the border, and the only response available will be that of the civilian volunteers."