French Diplomatic Employees Caught Smuggling Weapons Touch-Off Increased Scrutiny
Diplomats and their entourages crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip via the Erez Crossing point are grumbling about the additional scrutiny and resulting longer security lines at the check point after two diplomatic employees of the Consulate of France were caught smuggling guns into the West Bank. A French national employed as a driver at the east Jerusalem facility was discovered to be transporting seventy handguns and two rifles, apparently believing his vehicle would be subject to a lesser security check because of its status with the consulate. But the miscalculation has led to greater scrutiny and the increased waiting time the more rigorous searches are causing. In response to the incident, the Israelis have instituted the stricter regulations that are in effect at Ben Gurion International Airport such as banning liquids and laptop computers from being transported without special permission. Despite the complaints from friendly nations, the domestic security agency Shin Bet reminds those who are complaining that the Gaza Strip is under the control of the Hamas terrorist organization which complicates normal procedures.