Menashe Brigade Crossings upgraded to facilitate needs of Palestinian farmers and enable security and operational activity at a region prone to terror activity
land crossings of the Menashe Regional Brigade in the Judea and Samaria region are currently undergoing a series of upgrades to both better accommodate Palestinian civilian life and to address security needs. Many of the Palestinian civilians in the region use the crossings to work farmland across the security fence. The crossings will be upgraded this year at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars and several new crossings will be added for the benefit of the aforementioned farmers.
The two main 'welfare crossings' undergoing upgrades are located deep within the Menashe Regional Brigade’s operational area in Samaria. Placed a large distance from their fields, the current location of the crossings creates difficulty for the Palestinian farmers. This also creates a problem for security forces in the area, who assist the farmers as well as manage the relatively hostile region. Consequently, the crossings still pose a threat to the Israeli home front, with perpetual terrorist activity, illegal transfer of goods and weapons, and unauthorized entry into Israel.
Despite the security threats, several of the crossings continuously are open enabling Palestinians to cross regularly and reach their farmland. All crossings are open simultaneously, often experiencing heavy traffic at harvest times.
In recent years, a number of dangerous events occurred at the crossings including several illegal and violent riots breaking out, where Palestinians hurled rockets at IDF soldiers and Israeli civilians. In 2009 there were several incidents where the IDF found explosive devices along the disrupting IDF activity, with the goal of penetrating the fence and harming soldiers and civilians.
The security fence was first constructed in 2002 for defensive purposes, 95 percent of it constructed of barbed wire and only five percent made of concrete. The fence protects the Israeli population from terrorist attacks by Palestinians emanating from the Judea and Samaria region. In areas where the fence has been completed, such terrorist attacks have dramatically declined.
The course of the fence was designed in accordance with decisions of the Supreme Court and it takes into consideration both the security of Israeli civilians and the convenience of the Palestinian population. Later on, the route was revised several times for a variety reasons such as accommodating Palestinian agriculture. Despite these changes, Palestinians and other activisits hold violent riots, throwing rocks at Israeli security forces every weekend. The security forces respond with non-lethal riot dispersal means.
Since its construction, dozens of crossings were constructed along the fence enabling transfer of both goods and people accommodating the Palestinians in a variety of ways, including medical care.
Statistics show a clear correlation between the construction of the fence and the decline in the number of terrorist attacks. Between 2002 and 2003, there was a 30% decrease in the number of attacks. Similarly, the number murder victims by terrorists decreased by 50% in 2003 in comparison to the previous year. In areas where the fence is completed, the number of victims murdered by terrorists decreased from 46 in 2003 to none in 2004.