IDF Says Its Bus ‘Accidentally’ Entered West Bank Refugee Camp

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A contingent of border patrol police “rescued” the IDF soldier by using tear gas and other “non-lethal” methods to scatter the refugees.

 

It seems the Israeli Defense Forces’ buses have a habit of going where they are prohibited from— all accidentally, of course.

Israeli border police extracted a bus full of Israeli Defense Forces from the Qalandia Refugee Camp on Sunday. The camp was established in 1949 by the Red Cross and hosts nearly 10,000 refugees from Jerusalem, Haifa, Lydd, Ramleh and the west of Hebron.

A group of Palestinians protesters surrounded the bus after the vehicle entered the camp shortly before 7 p.m. for unknown reasons. As the unarmed residents picked up rocks and started throwing them at the bus — presumably because they thought the Israeli soldiers were invading the camps — the troops reportedly fired gunshots in the air to disperse the people in their own turf.

A contingent of border patrol police were summoned to the refugee camp to help, which used tear gas and other “non-lethal” methods to scatter the crowd, a police spokesman said. They were then “rescued” from the camp.

According to an IDF spokesperson, two soldiers and a border patrol officer were injured by the flying rocks and were taken to Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center for medical treatment.

 

Three Palestinians were taken into custody of the border guards. According to the police, one of the men was from Qalandia, another was from nearby Ramallah, while the third did not have identification when he was arrested.

The IDF said it is investigating why the bus entered the forbidden area.

The camp, as well as nearby checkpoints, have repeatedly been the site of violent confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians, after IDF vehicles “accidentally entered the areas. Many of these incidents have been blamed on faulty apps, like Google’s Waze, that relies on crowd-sourcing to give users the most updated traffic routes. In the app, when a “dangerous setting” is enabled, Israeli drivers receive multiple warnings that they are entering a dangerous area when they approach West Bank areas, A and B.

“It still happens about once a week,” said a military source, when a similar incident occurred in February 2018. “Sometimes it is soldiers, sometimes Israeli civilians, sometimes they are using Waze, sometimes they just end up in these areas by mistake.”

It’s well known the Israeli military is one of the most battle-trained force in the world and uses several state-of-the-art technologies developed in Israel, many of them made specifically to match the IDF's needs. Perhaps it’s time, the government issues them a better alternative to navigation than Google Waze – or at least train their soldiers to learn the right directions.

Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Issam Rimawi /Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

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