By Aryeh Savir
Tazpit News Agency
Hundreds of Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria demonstrated at several locations on Friday (May 24), protesting the increase of terror on the roads and the lack of a proper response by the IDF to these repetitive attacks.
Dozens of residents from Gush Etzion and its environs protested at the El-Khader Junction. Simultaneously, Arabs form the nearby village of Hussan began to riot. The IDF responded with crowds dispersion methods against the rioters. Malachi Levinger, mayor of Kiryat Arba, declared during the demonstration that he planned to instate vigils at all flashpoints in the vicinity. After the demonstration the participants marched to points were stones and Molotov-cocktails are often thrown. Boaz Haetzni, an activist, explained that by their mere presence at these locations they were forcing the IDF to allocate large forces to protect them, thus augmenting the general security in the area.
A parallel demonstration was held by the residents of Kdumim in Samaria at the entrance to the Arab town of Kadum were there are many assaults and clashes every Friday. After they left the scene Arabs began to riot. Soldiers responded with rubber bullets, wounding one rioter. The Head of the Kdumim Council, Hananel Dorany stressed that: “Every stone has a potential to kill, and the IDF should treat stone throwing like it treats gun-fire.”
Some 150 residents of Beit El demonstrated at the entrance to the Jeelazune refugee camp, protesting the stone throwing and the repeated arson. Moshe Rosenbaum, Head of the Beit El Council, stated they would not accept the current situation: “We will not allow things to return to the ‘stone-age’. We do not accept the throwing of even one stone at a Jew. A stone can kill or maim. We are calling on the policy makers to put an end to this situation in the most decisive way possible.” Oren ben Davd, a resident of Beit El, demanded that decisions be made in a more timely fashion. “We have been suffering for three months, and only now the army has begun to respond.”
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria held a discussion on Wednesday on the rapidly deteriorating security situation in Judea and Samaria. The Committee was told by the IDF that Arab rock attacks on Israelis were 2.5 times more frequent in 2012 than in 2011, and that the numbers for 2013 are 3.5 times more than those of 2011. Firebomb attacks were up more than fourfold. In 2011, 17 firebombs were thrown at civilians. In 2012, the number was up to 74, and the frequency continues to rise in 2013.
The Committee Chairman, MK Moti Yogev, said that since Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’ during last November, there has been a rise of 112% in the volume of terrorist activities in the sector, in comparison to the previous year. These terror attacks include gun fire from light weapons and the use of improvised explosive devices. MK Yogev related to the IDF’s ‘policy of containment’, according to which initiative and aggressiveness on the IDF’s part needs to be held at bay in order to minimize Arab casualties. “This policy has led to the fact the terrorists’ daring is on the rise,” he said, “and the IDF soldiers have no authority on the ground today.”