Gush Etzion moms: Make the terror stop now

Hundreds of women, most of them mothers, gathered at the Gush Etzion Junction Monday demanding that the security establishment end the ongoing terror residents of the region face daily.

Stabbing attacks have become an almost daily event at the Junction, said the protesters, with the latest victim, Hadar Buchris of Tzfat, buried Monday afternoon after being murdered in an attack there Sunday.

She was the third victim of a stabbing terror attack within the space of just a few days. Last Thursday, Rabbi Yaakov Don of Alon Shvut, and Ezra Schwartz, an American yeshiva student, were murdered right near the Junction as well.

The protesters carried signs demanding that the IDF increase its activities to keep terrorists away from the main road, used by tens of thousands of Jews daily to travel to and from Jerusalem.

Speaking Sunday, Etzion Bloc Regional Council head Davidi Perl said that Israel’s only choice was a large scale counter-terror operation in Judea and Samaria, similar to Operation Defensive Shield in 2002. “Again we have experienced a terror attack by an Arab… who passed through an IDF checkpoint and reached the hitchhiking stop,” he said, after the fatal stabbing Sunday that took the life of Buchris at the Gush Etzion Junction.

“I regret to say that for the Israeli government and the security establishment, the penny has not yet dropped,” he said. “We have to enter the villages and defeat terror just as they did in the Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

On a tour of the area Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that such an operation was not appropriate for the current conditions. “It must be understood that unlike Operation Defensive Shield, in which there were command centers, strongholds and thousands of armed men – and what is the situation today? Operation Defensive Shield was carried out in order to bring about for us this freedom of action,” the Prime Minister said.

Instead, a comprehensive plan announced earlier Monday would end the Arab reign of terror in Gush Etzion, Netanyahu said. In the initial stage, Gush Etzion Junction will be widened, and traffic lights will be installed at the Elazar and Neve Daniel junctions. Likewise, work will begin to establish two traffic circles on Highway 367: one at Alon Shevut Junction and another at the entrance to Kfar Etzion. The work is anticipated to be completed within several months.

“In addition to reinforcing our units, adding to our forces and sending forces into villages and communities, we are carrying out additional operations,” said Netanyahu.

“We are checking every Arab vehicle on the main roads. This is being done on the routes leading to the main roads. Secondly, localized solutions such as at Gush Etzion junction, that is to say a local bypass of the junction in accordance with the recommendation of the security services. This is happening here. It is happening in other places, including on the bypass roads which we are working to implement. This will take more time, as opposed to the localized solutions.

“Third, the extensive revocation of work permits for the families of terrorists. Such a family is aware of the fact that that there is an extremist – or one who is about to carry out an attack – in its midst, and such a family has no right to work in the State of Israel. We are revoking it; this is important.”