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Saturday, March 29, 2008
Treasury slashes fund for settlement security - IDF warns of new terrorist infiltrations in. West Bank

IDF warns of new terrorist infiltrations in. West Bank
Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Mar. 19, 2008
www.jpost.com
/servlet/Satellite?cid=1205420725047&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Noting an increase in the number of criminal infiltrations into West Bank
settlements in recent months, top IDF Central Command officers said on
Wednesday that security needs to be beefed up around the communities to
prevent terrorist attacks.

The warnings came as West Bank settlers revealed on Wednesday that the IDF
Home Front Command had cut some 70 percent of funding for the maintenance of
defense systems in their communities. The money is annually allocated to
repair electronic fences, cameras and other sensors.

A senior Central Command officer told The Jerusalem Post that the IDF was
concerned over the possibility that terrorists would try to infiltrate
settlements
to perpetrate attacks.

Shlomo Vaknin, head of security at the Council of Jewish Communities of
Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said the cutbacks meant that a deadly
infiltration of a settlement was only a matter of time.

"We need these funds right away," Vaknin said. "When the first glitch
occurs, the systems will simply collapse... and it will not be long before a
town is infiltrated without warning."

According to the senior officer, the army is particularly concerned about
the Jordan Valley, where there has been a significant increase recently in
the number of criminal infiltrations and attempted infiltrations of Jewish
settlements.

"Terrorism almost always catches a ride on the back of crime," the officer
said.

The Finance Ministry has also decided to cut funding for the installation of
plastic windows in settlers' cars, despite the increase in stoning attacks
in the West Bank. According to the senior officer, the IDF has noticed a
growing involvement of children in the attacks.

The IDF confirmed that the Home Front had transferred less money this year
for settlement security but said that this was due to a decision by the
Treasury
to cut the funding. "The Defense Ministry and the Home Front Command are
continuing to negotiate with the Treasury to increase the budget and get the
missing funds," the army said.

Kadima MK Otniel Schneller said he convened a meeting of the Knesset's
Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee a week ago to discuss the issue. The
government and the IDF were "failing" to protect Israeli citizens living or
driving in the West Bank, he said.

"This is not expensive, but it is critical," Schneller said. "And it is
especially important considering the fact that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are
gaining strength in the West Bank."

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