Official: Armon Hanatziv Blocks Not a Policy, But a Test

After Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday rolled back a plan to place large concrete blocks between the Armon Hanatziv and Jabel Mukaber neighborhoods in Jerusalem, a city official said that the blocks should not have been set up in the first place.

According to the official, the incident was a “an experiment,” and had been meant only to demonstrate what the situation in the neighborhood would be like with the blocks dividing the two neighborhoods.

The official told Haaretz that police wanted to examine what the effect of the blockade would be.

Armon Hanatziv has suffered constant attacks from its Arab neighbor for years, culminating in the attempted bus hijacking and shooting incident last week in which two Israelis were killed and more than 20 injured.

In fact, said police, there had been no problems in the neighborhood at all over the past three days since the blocks were set up.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu backtracked on a decision Sunday to post temporary concrete walls at the southeastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv, in order to block Arab terrorists from the adjacent Jabel Mukaber.

In response to the public outcry over the move – with many accusing the government of “practicing” to “divide Jerusalem” with the move – Netanyahu on Monday morning ordered not to build more walls at friction points in Jerusalem.

If Israel is hoping that concrete barriers will protect citizens, it is hoping in vain, said Education Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett.

Speaking to party members on Monday, Bennett said that the only “wall” that will work is a clear one that the government builds to deter terrorists from undertaking attacks.

“This wall demands that incitement be ended, and that terrorists are shot dead before they have a chance to hurt innocent people. It means that a terrorist who is shot will be dead and never walk again. It means that Israel remains in control of its homeland forever, unmoved by terrorism.”


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