Police Frisk Palestinians Entering Israel
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Police set up checkpoints along Israel’s 1967 borders and frisked Palestinians driving from the occupied lands into Israel today, in the first sign of sweeping new security measures.
News reports said Defense Minister Moshe Arens also plans to increase deportations of Palestinians and block thousands of Arabs from entering Israel.
The measures are a reaction to the stabbing attacks that have claimed five Israeli lives in the last two months. Seven Palestinians involved in the attacks were killed by police or Israeli revenge seekers.
On Sunday, three West Bank Palestinians boarded a bus in Tel Aviv, stabbed to death one passenger and wounded three. Police shot to death one assailant and captured the other two.
Israel radio reported massive traffic jams on the roads leading to Tel Aviv as the checkpoints went up along the so-called Green Line, the boundary with the West Bank and Gaza Strip before Israel captured them in the 1967 war.
″We’re doing body checks to see if they have knives. We also check their bags and their cars,″ police spokesman Adi Gonen said. ″It’s not a pleasure for them, but we have no choice.″
Police are now obliged to carry a pistol or Uzi submachine gun at all times, Gonen said. Police also recommended that bus drivers be allowed to carry guns on the job, he said.
The Maariv newspaper ran a front-page picture of a driver working the route on which Sunday’s attack occurred. Driver Salman Bassu held up a pistol, brass knuckles and a knife. He said he would carry the weapons on the job every day.
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported Arens wanted to increase to 15,000 the number of restrictive identity cards for Palestinians. About 10,800 such cards have been issued so far. The cards prohibit their holders from visiting Israel.
The stabbings are meant as revenge for the Oct. 8 police shootings on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that killed at least 17 Arabs.
About 110,000 Palestinians work in Israel, most as day laborers. Labor Minister David Magen has suggested reducing their number by 50,000 to make room for Soviet Jewish immigrants.
Israel radio said Arens is planning to step up deportations of Palestinians. Israel has deported 60 Palestinians since the start of the uprising in the occupied lands nearly three years ago.
The expulsions have been criticized by the United States, Europe and human rights groups as a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The convention, which Israel signed, bars deportations of civilians from occupied areas. Israel argues that the Geneva Convention only bans mass deportation, not expulsions of a few individuals.