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Palestinian police wage war on stolen Israeli car traffic

AFP  |  Ramallah 

At the police officer's gesture, the bulldozer smashes its shovel into a blue -- the latest of thousands of cars destroyed by Palestinian police every year.

The car's owner and her children protest, but receive little sympathy.

"This car has not been legally registered since 2007, despite its Israeli licence plates," the officer, who declines to give his name, tells AFP.

"I asked her to produce documents and she couldn't present any."

The operation is part of efforts to combat a large underground car market that sees vehicles stolen in or deemed unfit for the roads there transported into the occupied West

Palestinian authorities are concerned in part because crimes are often carried out using such unregistered cars still carrying their old Israeli plates.

Throughout the West Bank, vacant lots covered with stacks of hundreds of cars crushed by bulldozers bearing Israeli plates are an indication of the police crackdown.

Two vehicles of armed police and two bulldozers were involved in the recent roadside demolition at Al-Ram, a Palestinian area on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The officer heading the operation said he had seized 100 vehicles lacking documents in a day.

Many are crushed on the spot without a longer trial, before being taken away to landfills.

In 2016, 16,000 vehicles met the same fate, Palestinian police said, with 5,000 in January and February in the small territory occupied for 50 years by

Some of the cars were stolen from and illegally brought into the West for resale to Palestinians.

Others were declared unfit to run on Israeli roads, where annual tests check the condition of the vehicles in circulation.

They are removed from Israeli registers, and their owners are supposed to scrap them.

But instead they are often transported to the West Bank, where they pass into Palestinian hands at unbeatable prices, sometimes just a few hundred dollars.

Israelis and Palestinians are still struggling with an inextricable conflict over the land, and Israel has built an imposing security barrier that runs through the West

Heavily guarded checkpoints closely monitor what goes into Israel, including cars, but controls are far looser going in the opposite direction.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, March 17 2017. 09:42 IST