December 18, 2013. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon answered a parliamentary question by MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) regarding the movement of goods between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. MK Rozin asked whether the scanner donated by the Dutch government for the Kerem Shalom crossing could “prevent people and weapons from being smuggled, and if so, why is it not used for transferring goods between Gaza and the West Bank”? Ya’alon answered that, “Yes, the scanner is effective. If a person tries to hide or if someone tries to smuggle certain weapons, the scanner is supposed to detect that. But the scanner does not detect everything people want to smuggle from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria, which is in fact, a security reality that comes out of the Gaza Strip. There is a functional Hamas command center today. As an example, there are other actors at play there – Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Salafist organizations, global Jihad organizations, who would very much like to export terrorist activity to Judea and Samaria”.

MK Rozin also asked why, if goods from the Gaza Strip can be transported to the Ashdod seaport, Ben Gurion International Airport and the Allenby Bridge border crossing, they are not considered safe enough to be transported to the West Bank. The defense minister replied: “I said from the outset that at Allenby it’s for export – to Jordan. In Gaza it’s for export outside the territory, not to Judea and Samaria. And the Dutch government certainly will not dictate how we define security threats or how we respond to them. So yes, it caused some kind of discomfort, I stood my ground and I will stand my ground, we can in the Sub-committee on Foreign Relations and Security”.

To read Gisha’s translation of relevant parts of the exchange click here. For the original text of the protocol in Hebrew click here (PDF).