The Knesset will soon vote on a new bill, which is receiving wide support from many MKs, to ban the use of Palestinian-owned garages in the Territories by Israelis. According to the bill, Israeli citizens who will get their cars fixed across the Green Line will face up to three years in prison.
The bill, initiated by MK Moshe Kahlon (Likud) following an appeal from the police, is aimed at reducing the high number of car thefts in Israel, particularly from the Sharon region in the heart of the country.
According to police data, 90 percent of vehicles stolen in Israel are taken to the West Bank and dismantled there, in order to be used as spare parts for garages serving Israeli clients. This method enables garage owners in the West Bank to drastically lower prices and attract thousands of Israeli customers every year.
In certain cases, when garage owners receive a car of a special make or model for treatment, they issue an order for the theft of an identical car from Israel.
"Our goal is not to fight the flies, but to dry out the swamp," MK Kahlon explained. "Once we reach a stage in which they don't have customers, they won't have to steal cars in order to obtain spare parts," he added.
The MK stressed that, "We cannot allow a situation where people get their cars fixed with parts taken from their neighbor's stolen car." Kahlon also noted the risk to Israelis crossing the West Bank for this purpose.
The bill, which will be presented to the Knesset in a few months, is also set to include a clause that would allow Israelis to work with licensed garages in the West Bank.