An Israeli man on Monday turned himself over to Palestinian security officials in the West Bank city of Tulkarem and asked for political asylum from Israel.
Andre Beniron, 23, “surrendered himself” to the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday afternoon in Tulkarem and said he wanted “temporary political asylum and protection” while finding a way to leave Israel, according to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency.
Palestinian authorities handed Beniron over to the IDF’s military liaison unit an hour later, and he was subsequently transferred to the custody of Israel Police.
Beniron, who police confirmed has a criminal record, was questioned briefly before being released in Israel, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Times of Israel.
The police said it was not clear what Beniron’s motivations were to enter Tulkarem.
A spokesperson for the COGAT unit, which coordinates Israeli activity in the West Bank, noted that this was the first time, to his knowledge, that an Israeli had sought political refuge in the Palestinian territories.
Israel Police opened an investigation into Beniron’s entry to Tulkarem, which is part of PA-controlled Area A of the West Bank. The police, as a matter of policy, investigate all Israelis who enter Palestinian-controlled areas of the West Bank, a COGAT spokesperson told The Times of Israel.
According to Ma’an, Beniron immigrated to Israel from Russia 20 years ago. The news agency reported he had complained of untenable financial conditions.
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