Gush Etzion has been hit by some of the deadliest attacks during the last two months of daily stabbings, car-rammings and shootings by Palestinian terrorists. Most recently, 21-year-old Hadar Buchris of Tzfat was stabbed to death in a brutal attack.
In response, Gush Etzion's Regional Council is stepping up their efforts to restore calm and a sense of security the area.
Arutz Sheva turned to spokesman Yehuda Shapira, to get a better idea of how precisely his Council hopes to protect residents against the ever-present threat of Arab terrorism.
"We are actively working to increase security everywhere we can in order to restore a sense of calm to the residents," Shapira told Arutz Sheva. "We are installing security cameras in all of the kindergartens in the region. We are looking after the security of the youth groups during their weekly activities, and we are organizing increased security for a fair on Friday in which local residents will be able to come out and shop with a sense of safety and calm. All of this is in an effort to restore a sense of calm to the residents who live in the area."
Additionally, the council is holding daily meeting with the heads of the security forces in the area to make sure that the interests of the residents are being heard.
Following Tuesday’s meeting, the council sent out a letter to the Residents making them aware of the new security measures that are being put in place to help restore calm to the area.
Included in the new security measures are increased IDF activity and actions in Arab villages, including night time raids to arrest terrorists, the confiscation of any and all weapons, as well as the closure of radio stations that promote violence in anyway, the quick destruction of the homes of terrorists and the revocation of work permits for the family of a terrorist.
In addition to those steps the IDF will also be searching for and arresting individuals who promote hate and terror via online social networks. The IDF will also assign an elite unit to monitor and patrol the intersection and surrounding area at all times, close highway 367 to Palestinian traffic, and set up checkpoints on roads leading to the intersection to enable soldiers to properly check all vehicles for weapons before they arrive at the intersection.
Lastly the IDF has relaxed the protocols limiting the firing of live ammunition at terrorists in the area, thus enabling soldiers to have a quicker response time to any terror activity.
At this time – despite demands by many local residents – the Regional Council said that the IDF is unwilling to close highway 60 to Palestinian cars as there are many Palestinians who are not involved in these attacks, as they do not wish to make the situation more difficult for them or to foment more frustration in the current situation.
Likewise, they warn, the removal of Palestinian bystanders from the roadways will only make things easier for the terrorists, and will likely cause an increase in terror activities in the eastern part of Gush Etzion, which is more removed from the highway.