Work Set To Begin On Protecting Gush Etzion’s Bus Stops

Authorities will be taking steps on Monday to reinforce security at bus stops in the Gush Etzion region in Judea which have seen multiple knife and vehicular terror attacks in the recent wave of terror.

The plan for surrounding bus stops with concrete barriers or metal poles has been in the offing for several years to prevent terrorists from ramming their cars into bystanders.

Yehudah Shaipra, spokesman for the Gush Etzion Regional Council, explained to Tazpit that the authorities decided to secure the transport stations in 2014 shortly after three youths, Eyal Yifrah, 19, Naftali Frenkel, 16, and Gilad Sha’er, 16, were kidnapped by terrorists in the region and later murdered.

“It’s an old plan. When the three boys were kidnapped in Gush Etzion two years ago, everybody asked where the cameras were at this junction. Even to this day, the army has not installed cameras at the junction at which the kidnapping took place, and it has been two years already,” Shapira said.

He explained that following the kidnappings, the IDF decided to install cameras at junctions throughout Judea and Samaria, starting with the largest. Moreover, given the number of stabbing and car-ramming attacks that have struck the region, Shapira added that the army has been slow to deliver on its plans to protect bus stops with sufficiently protective and robust barriers.

“There are already blocks at the stations, but they are small and are not really able to stop a vehicle travelling at a high speed. We have even seen during recent weeks that cars used in attacks that are travelling fast enough can simply smash (the blocks) down. So, hopefully, from tomorrow they will stronger and better suited,” Shapira told TPS.

Asked why he believed that the plan had been so delayed, Shapira said that the army’s pace of operations and different budgetary priorities were the main factors.

“They have a budget, and then they want to use the money for things deemed more important like building a fence or destroying tunnels. So they allocate the money for those things, and, at the same time, the army works very slowly and takes so much time to make progress due to the bureaucracy involved,” Shapira claimed.

Reinforcement of the bus stops will begin on Monday morning in the southern area of the region and will begin on Wednesday in the northern half.

The latest hit-and-run attack to have taken place in the region was on the morning of Friday, March 2 at the Gush Etzion Junction. The attack left one IDF soldier lightly wounded. The terrorist was shot dead by security forces.