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July 6, 2017 10:37 am

‘Restricted’ Palestinians Still Manage to Reach Their Israeli Targets

avatar by Stephen M. Flatow / JNS.org

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An IDF checkpoint in the West Bank. Photo: Justin McIntosh via Wikimedia Commons.

JNS.org – The newly released details about a recent terrorist attack in Jerusalem show how easily Palestinian terrorists can enter Israel — thus contradicting claims that the Palestinian people’s movements are severely restricted by Israel.

The attack in question took place on June 16; three Palestinian terrorists killed an Israeli border policewoman named Hadas Malka, in Jerusalem. The terrorists also stabbed and shot several other Israelis, before they were killed.

The BBC rubbed salt in the victims’ wounds by titling its reports of the attack: “Three Palestinians Killed After Deadly Stabbing in Jerusalem.” After being deluged with complaints, the BBC changed the headline to “Israeli Policewoman Stabbed to Death in Jerusalem.” Notice how, even in the corrected version, Palestinians were still not identified as the aggressors. Many journalists seem to be incapable of writing a simple factual headline, such as “Palestinians Murder Israeli.” It’s just not in their vocabulary.

This week, the Israeli authorities released some important new details about the attack. It turns out that an Arab resident of Jerusalem served as an accomplice. The three main terrorists were residents of Ramallah and did not have the necessary permits to enter Israel, so the accomplice — who did have permission to enter because he lives in Jerusalem — drove to Ramallah to pick up the killers.

Let me pause to point something out: the reason that the terrorists had to go all the way to Jerusalem to kill Israelis is because there are no Israelis in Ramallah.

How can that be? Isn’t Ramallah in the West Bank? And isn’t the West Bank still “occupied territory,” as J Street, the BBC and the United Nations keep telling us?

The answer is “no.” There are no Israeli troops or Israeli officials in Ramallah; then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin pulled them out in 1995. Ramallah is the de facto capital city of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Palestinians run the schools, the courts, the police force, the hospitals and everything else.

But some people, such as former US Mideast envoy Dennis Ross, still want everyone to think that Israel is “occupying” Ramallah. Ross repeated the “occupation” myth in a recent article in the Jewish Review of Books. I wrote a letter to the editor, pointing out that the Israelis long ago withdrew from the areas where 98 percent of the Palestinians reside. In response, Ross insisted that those territories are still “occupied” because “Israel maintains control over movement.”

Well, that “control” is sometimes remarkably loose, judging by those three terrorists from Ramallah. The accomplice picked them up in his van and drove them to Jerusalem. In order to do so, he would have had to cross through an Israeli checkpoint. Evidently the border guards waved him through — that fact that he was a Jerusalem resident was apparently sufficient for them to trust him. It sounds like the Israelis didn’t even check the papers of the three passengers — because had they done so, the passengers would likely have been denied entry. And of course, Hadas Malka would still be alive.

I have written previously about Palestinian hiking clubs whose members go hiking for hours every Friday throughout the disputed territories and never encounter Israeli soldiers or checkpoints. I have also written about honest journalists who have reported that they can move freely from Palestinian city to Palestinian city without Israeli interference.

Former Mideast envoys whose lives are dedicated to creating a Palestinian state may not like to acknowledge it, but 26 of Israel’s 27 checkpoints are not in “Palestinian territory” and do not restrict the “movement” of Palestinians. Instead, the checkpoints are located at the border between Israel and PA-controlled territory. The purpose of Israel’s checkpoints is the same as the checkpoints that are located at every airport in the world — to make sure that passengers aren’t carrying any bombs, guns or other weapons with them. Briefly “controlling the movement” of people passing through a checkpoint does not make Israel an “occupier.”

All of us — presumably even Dennis Ross — must wait in line, empty our pockets and take off our shoes before we’re allowed to get on an airplane. That doesn’t mean we’re being oppressed, restricted or occupied. These are the normal precautions that every country takes to protect itself and its people. Surely Israel, the world’s top target for terrorist attacks, has the right to do the same.

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey. He is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.

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