Saturday night after midnight, some PA Arabs identified two Israeli women, secular and in their forties, who were wandering alone in the heart of the al-Amari refugee camp (neighborhood) near Ramallah, Ynet reported Sunday (באמצע הלילה: שתי ישראליות אותרו בלב מחנה פליטים פלסטיני – והוחזרו לישראל). The al-Amari refugee camp has a population of 10,377 registered refugees per the UN – though none of them are probably actual refugees. Following the Oslo Accords, the camp is located in Area A, which is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Al-Amari residents suffer from overcrowding and poor sewage and water infrastructure. During the second intifada, the IDF raided the camp regularly, demolished many homes, and imprisoned dozens of residents.
So you get the picture, al-Amari is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the PA, the kind that security forces prefer not to enter if they can help it, and when IDF forces do enter to carry out assignments, those operations are always accompanied by riots and violent confrontations. Even the PA security forces refrain from entering this neighborhood.
The PA Arabs who encountered the two Israeli women were unable to understand what they were doing in the dead of night in a really dangerous refugee camp, especially since the women spoke no Arabic and also because they had been drinking heavily. After realizing that these were Israeli women, officials who were called to the scene transferred them to the Israeli crossing at the entrance to Ramallah where they were detained for questioning by Israeli security officials.
During their interrogation, the two women said they live in a city in central Israel and had entered Ramallah through the Qalandiya crossing to meet an Arab friend. From there they reached the al-Amari refugee camp a few miles away, except that to get into the camp they had to veer off the main road that connects Jerusalem and Ramallah.
And then the two women surprised their interrogators claiming they left a third woman inside the refugee camp. She had arrived without her cellphone so they lost touch with her. The security officers became concerned this third woman might be in distress, all alone inside a really dangerous refugee camp. They contacted PA security officials who began conducting quiet but extensive searches in the alleys of the refugee camp, looking for this third Israeli woman, but to no avail.
Finally, the security officials on both sides reached the same conclusion, namely that the women made up the whole story about their friend. The two women will be charged with entering Area A without permission.