by Felix Frisch

IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley this week received an order with which some of them find it hard to identify.

The Jordan Valley Brigade ordered a battalion of reserves serving in the northern Dead Sea area to set up a roadblock at the eastern edge of the Jerusalem-Jericho road and to prevent Palestinian civilians from all over the territories from reaching the Dead Sea.

Officers and soldiers serving in the area reported that they had been ordered to stop all Palestinian vehicles or vehicles of Arab Israelis, and to deny anyone with a Palestinian identity card access to the Dead Sea beaches. Officers at the brigade headquarters had explained that Israelis bathing on the north shore of the Dead Sea had not been pleased with the presence of the Palestinians whom they feared might harm them.

It should be noted that the northern Dead Sea is part of the territories. On the face of it, after removal of the roadblocks in the West Bank there should be no problem about allowing Palestinians to reach the Dead Sea shore and bathing there.

But a senior officer in Central Command said the ban on Palestinians reaching the shore is not the result of a whim. He said that since the opening of the bathing season large numbers of Palestinians have been coming to the northern Dead Sea shore, which is the only beach where Palestinian from the West Bank are allowed to bathe. In some cases, the officer said, violence and scuffles broke out between Palestinians and Jews. In addition, the officer said, there are some warnings of terrorist attacks in that area.

However the officer did not explain why, if the problem is one of security, why is the very thorough security check which the army conducts on the Palestinians at the road block insufficient.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office response to our request to comment was:

“After an evaluation of the security situation it was decided at Central Command that Palestinian traffic from Judea and Samaria to the Jordan Valley would be permitted through the Taysir and Bekaot crossing points, after a full security check.

”The IDF Spokesperson’s Office did not answer our question about why Palestinians are being denied access to the Dead Sea shore.

I found this article on “the cutter“s blog!


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