(JNi.media) Some 15 Arabs on Monday crossed the border fence into Israel from the Gaza Strip in six different attempts. It was the highest number of infiltrations across the fence in one day since the end of Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, Walla reported.
In one case Monday morning, an IDF force arrested four Arabs who had crossed the fence in southern Gaza. The four were interviewed and transferred to Shin Bet custody. Towards the evening, three unarmed Arabs were arrested, having crossed the fence at the Eshkol Regional Council in the western Negev. They too were taken for questioning. Additional cases were recorded throughout the day.
In recent weeks, there has been a growing stream of infiltrators from the Gaza Strip into Israel, because of the difficult economic situation in Gaza. This year more than 200 have crossed the fence, were arrested and interrogated by the Shin Bet. Adult infiltrators are imprisoned, while minors are returned to the Gaza territory.
The IDF Gaza Division treats the phenomenon with great sensitivity. After identifying a penetration attempt, IDF forces are rushed to the area and treat the crossing Arabs as terrorists, until they are inspected and interrogated. After passing a security screening, they are turned over to the Shin Bet. In some cases, the infiltrators have been armed with grenades and knives. However, in the vast majority of cases the infiltrating Arabs have come seeking work—or to be arrested and be sent to jail. According to security sources, they come armed with a knife or a grenade in order to extend the duration of their detention.
The defense establishment believes that the more the economic hardship in the Gaza Strip increases, so will infiltrations increase. Hamas has deployed along the border to prevent infiltrators, has not hesitated to use live ammunition to stop them.
A June, 2014 local poll reported that more than half of Gaza Arabs would leave the strip if they had the choice, the highest number ever recorded. It is estimated that close to 1.8 million live in the Gaza Strip. A UN development agency report in September 2014 warned that Gaza could become uninhabitable by 2020.