This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Infiltrating Israel

"We have to understand that you will never solve the problem. Whenever you have illegal workers, it is part of the reality, it is part of the economy."
Nitzan Nuriel, (retired) Israeli brigadier general

"Before this last attack, the army would act as if nothing was going on -- 30 or 40 workers would cross into Israel all at once."
"This last attack has temporarily complicated our operation [illegal crossing into Israel]."
"We will always find ways to get these [Palestinian] workers in [to Israel by means of smuggling over the fence, through the gaps in the concertina wire]."
Abu Ramzi, 34, West Bank Palestinian driver for smuggling operation

"Most of it [new wall between Israel and Gaza] will be under the ground, where although it might still be possible for Hamas to build a tunnel, if it’s as deep as 30 meters, it will be much harder for them."
"There is a problem with these attack tunnels, and we don’t have a good solution. But this will definitely minimize the probability of another attack."
Kobi Michael, senior researcher, Institute for National Security Studies/former deputy director general, Ministry of Strategic Affairs, Israe
Palestinian workers scale fences and bypass razor wire, often with the help of smugglers, to work in Israel. Photo: Daniel Berehulak, New York Times

Israel is attacked from Gaza by Hamas and other Islamist militias by Qassam rockets sent over the border to hit Israeli towns and villages. When Israel retreated from Gaza, to leave the strip in the hands of the Palestinians in the hope that they would organize themselves into a reasonable facsimile of a responsible civic order, bringing peace between Israel and Gazans, it soon enough became apparent that no such thing was about to happen.

Chaos reigned as Islamist militias like Islamic Jihad and Fatah faced off in enmity against one another, leaving the Palestinians in Gaza at their mercy, even as the Palestinians went about destroying whatever had been left intact in the former Gaza settlements once the IDF and the settlers were removed. When Hamas wrested administration of the Strip from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, it set about organizing attacks against Israel until the wall of separation was built.

Israeli soldiers and civilians use heavy engineering equipment to discover a Hamas attack tunnel near the Gaza border last week, in a video released on April 18, 2016. (Screen capture: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Israeli soldiers and civilians use heavy engineering equipment to discover a Hamas attack tunnel near the Gaza border last week, in a video released on April 18, 2016. (Screen capture: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Hamas lost little time in building tunnels to infiltrate Israel even while it continued to send rockets across into Israel. And although Israel has developed technology to detect the presence of the tunnels and then destroys those it finds, Hamas continues to focus on building more. Finally, Israel has decided it would build another protective wall to more emphatically separate Israel from Hamas incursions and this time it would be an underground wall, to more effectively protect itself.

Rockets from Gaza, and incursions through tunnels by Hamas, and from Palestinians in the West Bank, desperate efforts to reach Israel to find employment to support their families. There are many Palestinians who do have Israeli-issued work permits allowing them to cross check points to enter Israel to reach their jobs in Israel. But there are also undocumented Palestinian workers who pay smugglers to get them over the wall between the West Bank and Israel, so they can work in Israel.

With the use of ladders and ropes, workers are driven to specific areas where they are helped over the fence in the dim pre-dawn light, and from there they search out construction jobs in Israel. Palestinians working in Israel earn double what they can in the West Bank, and Israeli contractors and restaurant owners are complicit with the practise of hiring undocumented workers, since they pay them less than they do those with permits.

The smugglers charge $65 to $200 for each person smuggled into Israel. And if they're caught they are punished by being returned by authorities back over the border. The innocent-enough passage of those seeking employment in Israel is one thing; the more sinister effect is that there are others using the system as well, whose plans are far less bland in purpose, but disconcertingly violent in their intent. "You don't know who you are walking with", said Mahmoud Khalil, 19, a Palestinian working at an Israeli construction site.

That is because occasionally Palestinians whose intent is to become martyrs by killing Israeli Jews are also smuggled across that fence. Mahmoud Khalil lives in Yatta, where two Palestinian cousins also hailed from, only the cousins' purpose in entering Israel was to kill Jews. The smugglers aren't fond of the idea of terrorists using their auspices to enter Israel, since it interferes with their business, giving it a reeking reputation for abetting murder, not employment.

Abu Ramzi in an interview, explained that he and those with whom he works have made it their business to contact Palestinian security forces if they feel they have reason to be suspicious about the intention of a client. That the Israeli military had increased patrols since the Tel Aviv shootings doesn't sit well with him and his colleagues. They mean no harm to Israel, they assert; they merely are involved in aiding unemployed Palestinians.

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