Prosecutors filed charges Sunday against Suleiman Abu Karon, a Bedouin resident of the village of Bir Hajj. Karon last week was arrested after he rode an all-terrain vehicle into an IDF firing range on the Tze'elim army base. Because of Abu Karon, the army was forced to stop training activities for ten army units.
The defendant was arrested after he rode the ATV into the closed military area: His face was masked, and his vehicle did not have a license plate. The IDF units were training with live fire, and there were a number of tanks and jeeps in the field as well.
Abu Karon rode into the area, made several circuits, and rode out again – but unfortunately for him, a unit of the enforcement arm of the Environment Ministry spotted and pursued him, eventually arresting him. He was charged with a series of crimes, including entering a closed military area, driving a vehicle without identification, and resisting arrest.
Abu Karon is far from the only person to enter the Tze'elim base over the past year; officials said that it was an ongoing problem all over the Negev. The drivers usually are masked, and their objective is to steal and/or damage army equipment, whichever they can more easily get away with. The objects of theft are generally items made of steel or other metals, which the thieves melt down and sell as scrap metal.
“These crimes of entering military areas in general, usually to steal items, are a country-wide problem, and especially in the Negev,” the charge sheet against Abu Karon read. “This defendant has crossed a red line, causing a halt to an ongoing exercise, which will harm the ability of our soldiers to defend the country, as well as theft of taxpayer money.”