State Comptroller's Tour of the Separation Fence Breach (March 31, 2022)

State Comptroller Englman at the separation fence breach: "This is how a terrorist gets from Jenin to Bnei Brak in an hour. The separation fence is breached and is irrelevant. This is a significant and fundamental failure"

Today (Thursday March 31, 2022), State Comptroller Matanyahu Englman, together with the Head of the Southern Sharon Regional Council, Oshrat Gani Gonen, toured the breach in the separation fence near the village of Matan. Many breaches like it exist along the hundreds of kilometers of the separation fence. During the tour, the Comptroller and the Head of the Council illustrated how it is possible to cross very easily from Israeli territory to the territory of the Palestinian Authority. In many breaches it is even possible to enter with vehicles.

Comptroller Englman announced that for the past few months auditing work is taking place on the security fence, and defined the state's conduct on this issue as "a fundamental and significant failure." In addition, the Comptroller pointed out failures in law enforcement regarding illegal entrants. According to the directive that became clear as part of the auditing work, it is only possible to file an indictment after the illegal entrant has been arrested three times.

This is what the Comptroller said:

"Israel is experiencing a wave of murderous terrorism towards its citizens. I share in the grief of the families of the murdered victims and wish a recovery to the injured, and much success to the security forces operating on the ground.

During the past few months we have been examining the whole issue of the separation fence. This is a significant and fundamental failure. Over 8 billion shekels have been invested in the project, over 5 billion shekels just in the fence itself. In addition, the State of Israel invests 140 million shekels a year in routine maintenance and activity in the area.

Despite this, we see breaches here through which thousands of Palestinians with and without permits pass, without any monitoring, including the possibility of vehicles entering. Thus we see how a terrorist can get from Jenin to Bnei Brak in an hour very easily. In the auditing work we are examining the operational, maintenance and monitoring response after the government's decisions.

We also need to talk about the enforcement policy: it is unacceptable that only after someone is caught 3 times, an indictment is filed against him. This is a policy that needs to be reassessed so that enforcement is effective.

I call on the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Defense and Public Security, and the entire government, to wake up and understand that the separation fence that was declared as a very significant response to terrorists for Israel's citizens – is breached and irrelevant. It is very important to invest the resources and to see how to prevent the breaches."

Oshrat Gani Gonen, Head of the Southern Sharon Regional Council: "Over the years we have alerted both the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security that we feel that our lives have been forsaken, because it is possible to go through this fence with intolerable ease, and people go through it. All we are demanding – and now more than ever we see how justified this demand is – is to close these breaches in the fence, to maintain it and to station defense forces along the fence. We are full of hope that soon, at the end of the examination, the breaches in the fence will be closed and security will be restored for our residents."