Thursday, April 3, 2008

Army Returns, Car-Protection Removed [Yesha News]
by Hillel Fendel

Following protests and pressure by local residents, an army presence has been restored to the Rimonim-Kokhava HaShachar highway in the Binyamin region of Samaria. Cars won't be protected against rocks, however.

Bowing to US and PA pressure, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday ordered the removal of a counter-terror army checkpoint from the turnoff to the Jewish community of Rimonim. Residents feared that this would lead to a repeat of terror attacks in the area, such as the one in which Esther Gealyah - a mother of seven from Kokhav HaShachar - was murdered in 2002.

An emergency protest was held at the site, leaders and residents of Yesha (Judea and Samaria) threatened to maintain an armed civilian presence there, meetings were held with army officials - and finally, a solution was found: An army contingent would be present at the site, even if it did not stop or search every passing car.

"Our main concern," Yesha Council chief Pinchas Wallerstein told Arutz-7, "is that the road not be left open for terrorists to perpetrate an attack and then to escape easily to Ramallah. An army presence there will make such a scenario much more unlikely."

For more information on life in Judea and Samaria, click here:

Gov't Cuts Off Protection for Cars
This is one of the few bright spots in the political picture for the Jewish pioneers of Judea and Samaria. Just last week, the government announced that it would no longer fund anti-rock plastic windows for the residents' cars.

This, while rock attacks at Jewish cars have increased dramatically throughout Judea and Samaria.

Shlomo Vaknin, the Yesha Council's Security Officer, says the new decision "adds to our sense of being abandoned by the government, yet doesn't even save the government much money... The whole thing only costs five million shekels each year, divided equally between the Defense Ministry and the Finance Ministry. Defense is willing to pay its share, so it's just 2.5 million shekels that are a problem. I would like to ask the Finance Ministry how much they think it costs to treat one child who is seriously wounded by a rock to his head. Do they really think it's not worth 2.5 million shekels to avoid that?"

Yesha Council officials are tying to negotiate a solution to the above problem. Wallerstein said he hopes to discuss the matter with the Prime Minister's Bureau Director as early as this evening.

Other Strikes Against Yesha

The Jewish residents of Yesha have been hurt in other ways of late, Vaknin said: "I don’t believe there is a conspiracy against us, but the accumulation of things gives a sense that we have been abandoned. There was the decision to cancel the work of the national service girls in ten security centers, in place of the reserve soldiers who had been removed from those positions. Then there was a government decision to stop paying for defense equipment used by the towns, such as fences, cameras, and the like. Not to mention the Mivtzar project that was stopped, in which special emergency forces were trained and paid for to deal with terrorist infiltrations and the like; instead, there will be security guard companies that will be more limited and less professional."

[original article has video]

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