Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, believes that Israel should annex Judea and Samaria in order to enable local residents, including the peaceful Arabs, to build a better life.
To date, 21 people have been killed and 190 were wounded in the ongoing wave of terror across the country, which began after the Jewish New Year in September.
Speaking recently to journalists at the Gush Etzion junction – a popular site for Palestinian terror attacks – Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that other than the two Intifadas (1987-1991 and 2000-2005), “it used to be quiet. But today there’s a big difference. They come here, trying to attack us in our home.”
Perl, who grew up in Gush Etzion and has been living there for more than 45 years, said that even during the Intifadas, “the violence was not right here, but in the villages or on the roads. Now they come here. This place [the junction] is our living room, like the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem. They don’t care who they kill – women, teenagers, everyone.”
In fact, he said, “it started about a year and a half ago, when the three teenagers were killed. There have been many incidents here recently at this junction – a 21-year-old girl was murdered at the bus stop. A week ago three people were murdered. My friend, Yaakov Don, had just left his home to visit his sons at school. He had just come out of the gate of [the community of] Alon Shvut.”
“The people here used to feel secure,” he continued. “They shopped together with Arabs, but now it all changed. People are very hesitant to go out to shop, to go out at night, to go to the coffee shops and even to fill up their cars with gas, because who will be the next one?”
“You see the army here,” Perl said, pointing to what seemed like dozens of soldiers from all directions. “This is the center of the community. Now the soldiers are stopping all the cars, checking for knives and other weapons.”
Peaceful Arabs are ‘Frustrated’
According to Perl, the Palestinian leaders “push them to terror, to go out and attack Jews. The Palestinian Authority pays salaries to people who commit terror and who served time in jail…
“The good people among them are frustrated,” he added. “There are hundreds of Arabs working in Gush Etzion. They need to make a salary and have a decent life.”
“This is our homeland. We want to live in peace in our homeland. Who started the war after 1948 [when the State of Israel was established]? Not us, but them [Arabs in the region]. If we give away this land, they’ll go to Tel Aviv to kill us because we’re Jews…
“We can’t let them build a terror base here,” he said, referring to the idea of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. “No country in the world would agree to that. I think Israel should annex all of Judea and Samaria, like they did with the Golan Heights, because we have to make it clear to whom it belongs. Only then can the people living here build a better life, including the Arabs, because their leaders only push them to terror.”
Peter Lerner, IDF spokesperson, addressed the same group of journalists at the nearby Alon Shvut junction, just outside the community where the murdered Yaakov Don lived.
The terrorists “specifically search out this area,” Lerner said. Their methods range “from stabbing to ramming with a vehicle to shooting.”
Social Media Incitement
They “mimick” each other, he continued, carrying out these attacks “filled with hate” and incited by “social media and traditional media.”
They search for an area with large Israeli and Arab populations in order to get access, he explained.
Among the new steps to be taken is the building of a road to bypass the circle in the junction and more security at the bus stops, which is often an inconvenience. “These kinds of steps are temporary in light of the reality,” Lerner said. “In this reality, saving lives takes precedence over quality of life.”
By: Atara Beck, United with Israel
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