“This is terror activity that is trying to banish us from our land,” said a victim of Palestinian agricultural crime.
By: World Israel News Staff
The damage incurred by Israeli farmers in 2017 as a result of agricultural crime, committed mostly by Palestinians gangs, has amounted to some NIS 1.2 billion to NIS 1.4 billion, according to a report presented by Border Police Chief Major General Yaakov Shabtai to the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee.
The Internal Affairs and Environment Committee on Wednesday called on the government to formulate a plan of action for all ministries involved in the matter to handle agricultural crime and terror.
The Committee also urged the Ministry of Public Security to establish a designated unit in the Border Police to handle agricultural terror and crime, and called upon the Ministry of Finance to find an economic solution to compensate farmers who have incurred damage.
Shabtai noted that over the past two years there has been a 54 percent drop in agricultural thefts.
“We know how to activate intelligence, and that is why there has been an increase in the number of indictments, arrests and conclusions of proceedings,” he said. “Today, there are three times as many arrests compared to two years ago. This is a result of the streamlining, the re-organization within the Border Police and the budget cuts in less effective areas.”
David Amitai, president of the Farmers’ Federation of Israel, said that the thieves were motivated by economic gain.
“Most of the offenses are committed by organized groups from the Palestinian Authority (PA). This is an attempt to take control over state-owned lands in nationalist operations under the guise of criminal activity,” he stated.
Ran Shachar, director of an agricultural refrigeration company that was set on fire twice, said: “How do you expel farmers from their land? This is terror activity that is trying to banish us from our land.”