Tunnel housing illegal Arab residents found near Petach Tikva shuk

In an attempt to find illegal residents of the Palestinian territories sleeping in Petach Tikvah, a tunnel was exposed near the local shuk (open-air market) containing 47 scattered mattresses.

Source: Ynet

By Einav Yosef-Zadeh
January 14, 2009

Tunnels, it appears, are not only for Gaza: In a campaign to find illegal residents early Tuesday morning in Petach Tikva, a tunnel was uncovered behind one of the stalls in the local shuk (open-air market) containing no fewer than 47 mattresses side by side. It seems that the tunnel was used as a residence.

Because of the sensitive situation created by the fighting in the south, the police decided to arrest illegal residents including workers from the Palestinian Authority with a work permit in Israel, and return them to the PA’s territory. [MiI: As I understand, those apprehended have permits allowing them to work within the Green Line, but not to sleep over.]

Rafak Yaron Achrak, Lieutenant Commander of the Petach Tikva police station, told what led to the decision. “In the station there is regular activity to apprehend illegal residents. Unfortunately, the building boom in the city has increased their numbers, and because of the sensitive situation we have strengthened the campaign. [The illegal residents] see what is happening with the fighting and one can’t know what is going on in another’s head. In a crazed moment even someone without a criminal past could stab someone, and there have been many such cases.”

Members of the city’s committee for aesthetic improvement, headed by Tzvika Blumenshtik, helped the police with the campaign. Therefore, members of the committee joined the police in the campaign, that began with searches at 5:00 am, and helped them “shave” areas of growth that are used as hiding places.

“This was a joint action by the police, sanitation, and parks departments,” said Blumenshtik. “At five in the morning there was a raid in two main places: The shuk, where we found illegal residents going underground and hiding, and at the Geha intersection.”