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Thousands of terror suspects held Israeli entry permits

Some 10% of Palestinian Authority residents arrested for security offenses between 2018 and 2022 were authorized to cross the 1949 armistice line.

Palestinians cross into Israel through a hole in the security fence in Judea, July 25, 2021. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.
Palestinians cross into Israel through a hole in the security fence in Judea, July 25, 2021. Photo by Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90.

An increasing number of Palestinian terror suspects had received permits to enter Israel.

In the years 2018-2022, 10% of Palestinian Authority residents arrested for involvement in security offenses held Israeli entry permits—2,115 out of more than 21,000—according to police data cited in a Knesset’s Research and Information Center report published earlier this month.

It was also revealed that 18% of these Palestinian terror suspects with entry permits were arrested within the 1949 armistice lines. 

In 2018, 212 Palestinians with entry permits were arrested. That number jumped to 767 in 2021 due to “Operation Guardian of the Walls.” Last year, 580 arrests were made. 

Following a series of deadly terrorist attacks in Israel last year, the IDF began renovating and closing gaps in the security barrier. The Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) estimates that some 7,000 Palestinians reside inside Israel illegally.

According to police data, only 33 Palestinians were arrested for illegally residing in Israel between 2018 and 2022. This is due in part to the policy of prosecutors to instruct police not to make an arrest until after the third offense.

“A 35% increase in the involvement of Palestinians with permits to enter Israel in terrorist and security offenses is 100% too much,” said Likud Knesset member Hanoch Milwidsky, who had requested that the report be prepared.

“I intend to contact the chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Yuli Edelstein, and hold a discussion as soon as possible regarding the overly lenient policy in granting entry permits to Israel,” Milwidsky said.

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