Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

17 Shevat 5762 - January 30, 2002 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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Israeli Leaders Work to Protect Jerusalem
by Yated Ne'eman Staff and Mordecai Plaut

In response to two bombs within one week, Israeli leaders are trying to strengthen security measures in and around Jerusalem, and to compensate residents and businesses for the financial losses.

The National Security Council has a plan for the capital known as "Enveloping Jerusalem." Until now it has not been seriously discussed, for budgetary and for political reasons: The plan is very expensive, and some object that it is a division of Jerusalem.

The plan, which was drafted jointly by NSC Chairman Major General Uzi Dayan and Jerusalem Police Chief Mickey Levy, calls for constructing a wall along 11 kilometers of the seam line between East and West Jerusalem, setting up roadblocks between the eastern and western parts of the city, installing video cameras along the seam line, establishing five Border Police companies to patrol the seam, and introducing additional identification technologies such as thermal sensors and night-vision equipment.

The police insist that the plan is not a redivision of the capital, but merely a way of improving security in the city.

Prime Minister Sharon, Public Security Minister Uzi Landau and Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert -- all of whom have reviewed the proposal -- object to walls or fences that could be interpreted as a repartition of the city.

Sharon, Landau and Olmert all prefer to focus efforts on preventing terrorists from entering the city rather than on keeping them from crossing from its eastern to its western part. They argue that the danger is from outside the city, not from its eastern neighborhoods.

On Monday, roadblocks were set up at the western entrance to Jaffa Road, near the central bus station, and police inspected each vehicle that passed through the checkpoint. Mounted and foot patrols were also increased around the eastern entrance to the street, near IDF Square. Finally, patrols were increased in the center of town.

Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonisky told the Foreign Affairs Committee that within Israel in 2001, there had been 1,800 terror attacks in which 208 Israelis had been killed and 1,600 had been wounded. In Jerusalem last year, the police chief said, there had been 66 attacks that had resulted in casualties, leaving 33 people dead and 513 wounded. Thirty-seven of these were bombings, and there were 29 shootings.

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert met on Monday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Finance Minister Silvan Shalom to discuss ways of aiding downtown business owners who have been financially hurt by the wave of terror attacks.

Olmert recommended that major tax breaks be given to them, including discounts on property tax and an exemption from value added tax. He also proposed the government provide Jerusalem businesses with income tax reductions similar to the ones Negev and Galilee residents receive.

Initial estimates show Sunday's terror attack damaged at least 60 stores and 15 office buildings on and around Jaffa Road, worth approximately NIS 10 million.

A protection plan for Jerusalem based on establishing obstacles to the flow of people and vehicles into the city from Palestinian areas, has been developed by Internal Security Minister Uzi Landau. Landau said it is aimed at making it difficult for [Palestinians] to reach the city from Ramallah and Bethlehem.

Landau emphasized no fences or roadblocks would be established within the capital. He noted police efforts in Jerusalem are not only focused on combating terror, but also on implementing sovereignty.

Landau said the goal must be to stop terrorists before they cross the border. "A terrorist who has left Tulkarm or Nablus is like a missile that has been shot off, and to stop him is very difficult," he said.

He also warned of threats to population centers from tactical weapons in the hands of the Palestinian Authority. "The Kassam-2 and long-range mortars can certainly be a strategic threat if they are situated on the Green Line," he said.

Opposition leader Yossi Sarid told Landau he lives in a "virtual world." Sarid said the "terror infrastructure" cannot be eliminated because the "infrastructure is the suffering in the territories and the hatred the suffering creates."


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