Approximately 20,000 Israelis from all over the country visited Gush Etzion on the first day of Chol HaMoed Tuesday, numbers that regional council chairman Davidi Pearl said prove the strong connection between the area and all of Israel.
He added that the throng of visitors shows that terror cannot intimidate people.
Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Uri Ariel visited the Givat Oz V’Gaon park adjacent to the Gush Etzion junction. The area was dedicated to the memories of the three yeshiva youth were murdered by Hamas terrorists last year.
Thousands of tourists also traveled through Gush Etzion to visit the Patriarchs’ Cave (Maharat HaMachpela) in Hebron and the southern Hebron Hills.
Travelers reported a heavy presence of IDF patrols on Highway 60 to deter Arabs from trying to murder Jews with rocks and firebombs.
Palestinian Arab terrorists bombed IDF soldiers in Gush Etzion Saturday night. The terrorists hurled three improvised explosive devices (IED) at the soldiers while they were out on patrol.
The attack took place near the Arab village of Beit Fajar, close to the Jewish community of Migdal Oz and the Arab community of El Aroub. No injuries were reported.
In the capital, two Palestinian Arab terror suspects were arrested in the Jerusalem suburb of Issawiya also Saturday night, on the orders of a judge.
While the soldiers were operating in the neighborhood, Palestinian Arab terrorists began hurling rocks at Border Guard Police.
The troops chased the perpetrators and arrested five suspects.
Palestinian Arab terrorists also firebombed an IDF base east of Jerusalem late Saturday night, and then attacked the firefighters who came to extinguish the blaze that was ignited around the watchtower.
The two firefighter crews who arrived at the scene were met by a hail of rocks and an exploding Molotov cocktail.
IDF soldiers responded with non-lethal riot dispersal measures.
The attack took place at the Anatot Base, just east of the Mount of Olives and Mount Scopus, and mimicked an attack Thursday that was nearly identical. That attack took place at Jerusalem’s Ofrit Base on Mount Scopus, near the Hadassah University campus and not far from Saturday night’s attack.
(Gush Etzion) A unit from the IDF’s Shimshon Battalion in the Kfir Brigade along with police captured 2 members of an Arab terror cell in Beit Omer, in Gush Etzion on Saturday night, according to a Tazpit News Agency report.
Searching their house, the IDF found a handgun, an improvised gun, IDF uniforms, gun magazines, bullets, walkie-talkies, ski masks, knives and other IDF equipment, according to the Israeli police.
The two have been transferred to the Shabbak for interrogation.
The army soon may be allowed to act like an army and actually fire at terrorists even if soldiers might only be liable to be wounded and not killed.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Security Cabinet Wednesday morning that there will be a re-examination of a recent decision to prohibit soldiers from shooting at rock-throwing and firebombing terrorists unless their lives are in immediate danger.
Since the legal system is finding it difficult to deal with stone-throwing by minors, changing open-fire orders regarding the throwing of stones and firebombs will be examined, as will be the imposition – by law – of minimum sentences for those who throw stones and firebombs.
Stiffer sentences, including several years in prison, for rock-throwers already are on the agenda following an imitative by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The issue of minors throwing rocks, intended to kill Israeli drivers either with a direct hit in the face or by causing them to lose control of their vehicles and crash, was highlighted around the world earlier this week with the video of a Palestinian Authority family whose children are “stars” in rock-throwing attacks on soldiers, whose reactions are filmed and edited to portray the children as innocent victims of a big bad army.
The video showed the children and adults punching and beating the soldier, who sat helpless and without even aiming his semi-automatic rifle at them.
Prime Minister Netanyahu did not refer to the most recent “Pallywood” video and instead focused on the increasing number of attacks on Highway 443, the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway that is an alternate to Highway 1 and which also connects the capital with the suburban city of Modi’in.
He told the Security Cabinet:
The policy is zero tolerance for stone-throwing and zero tolerance for terrorism.
That has been said over and over, but the government and military actually have shown 100% tolerance by tying the hands of soldiers trying to defend themselves and civilians.
One young woman told TheJewishPress.com she still is traumatized by an ambush on a vehicle in which she was riding on Highway 60 between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion.
“S. B.” said”
Arabs smashed the back windshield and ambushed our car. An IDF officer at the scene communicated with his superior, who told him not shoot. The officer replied, ‘How am I supposed to defend civilians if I can’t shoot?’
The IDF’s answer earlier this month was not encouraging and was so cowardly that even international media such as Newsweek reported:
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has tightened its rules of engagement for soldiers based in the West Bank in a move one analyst says could embolden would-be Palestinian attackers.
IDF soldiers have been instructed not to shoot at Palestinian suspects unless they pose an immediate threat to life in an updated directive issued by Major General Roni Numa, who is in charge of IDF Central Command….
The new directive clarifies existing IDF rules on opening fire against Palestinians. The rules stipulate that soldiers can only shoot when their lives are threatened—so if an attacker throws a firebomb at soldiers before running away, for example, the soldiers can only shoot in the air, as the attacker no longer poses a threat to forces.
Asaf Day, an Israeli security analyst with Tel Aviv-based consultancy Max Security…said, ‘I think [these measures] will encourage Palestinians to carry out more attacks and I think it has been proven in the past.”
That is exactly what has happened, and the Prime Minister gave clear signs today he will rectify the situation.
He also ordered the examination of several defensive measures, such as increasing lighting and the number of security cameras on Highway 443. In addition, two more Border Police companies and approximately 400 more police officers will be stationed in Jerusalem.
That does not solve the problem in Judea and Samaria, where rock-throwing attacks are so common that they no longer are reported by most media, unless someone is seriously injured or killed. That is similar to the rocket attacks from Gaza. If they “land,” meaning “explode,” in “open areas,” the liberal media might consider it important enough for two paragraphs.
The “turn the other cheek for the sake of ‘peace'” mentality that successive U.S. governments and the European Union have imposed on Israel still prevails in many quarters.
As usual, it takes more violence and injures before the government and the IDF begins to think that maybe, just maybe, soldiers should be allowed to shoot at terrorists, whether they are shooting bullets or throwing rocks.
Netanyahu took the first step today by suggesting that perhaps solders can shoot, even if rocks and firebombs might cause them injuries and not death.
Below the photo, a video shows Palestinian children, starring Shirley Temper.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon will not expel people deployed at the Oz VeGaon Memorial Park in Gush Etzion, contrary to fears expressed by Women in Green earlier this week.
The nationalist organization turned to Gush Etzion Regional Council leader Davidi Perl, who spoke with Ya’alon, leading to a deciding not only to keep the park intact but also to authorize it.
It was dedicated last year in memory of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Sha’ar, the three victims of Hamas kidnap-murderers from the Hebron area.
The park is located immediately east of the Gush Etzion junction and is populated by a family who protect it from Arab vandals.
There are no intentions of turning it into a full-fledged outpost, which the Defense Minister may have incorrectly assumed was the plan of nationalists. Buildings at the park are used for displays and hands-on activities for children.
“The minister of defense has once again proven that he is a friend of the settlement enterprise,” Perl said after Ya’alon’s decision.
Oz VeGaon announced on Wednesday that Selichot prayers will be held at the park Thursday at 12:30 a.m.
Sephardi Jews have been saying Selichot prayers since the first day of the Hebrew month of Elul. Ashkenazi Jews begin reciting Selichot this Saturday night. The prayers are concluded the eve of Yom Kippur.