Hitch hiking in Gush Etzion.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Following a spate of terrorist attacks in which Arabs in vehicles have slammed into Israelis, the IDF will deploy protective barricades at 20 hitchhiking posts and bus stops in the West Bank.
“We are providing a first response against this threat,” said Lt.-Col. Hanan Aviel, the senior engineering officer in the Judea and Samaria Division, who initiated the move last Wednesday after three soldiers were run over in Gush Etzion.
On Thursday, an army source said the incident may have been an accident that turned into a hit-and-run.
Two Palestinian suspects from Hebron, including the alleged driver, are in custody.
The barriers, which will be made of concrete slabs designed to prevent attacks and stop incoming vehicles in their tracks, are to be placed in the busiest areas in Judea and Samaria used by Israeli passengers over the coming week, the army said. Barricades already have been set up at hitchhiking posts in the junctions of Tapuah and Alon Shvut.
Attacks involving the running down of victims have become common due to the ease of carrying them out and the lack of any need for preparation by the terrorist, Aviel said.
He added, however, that the barricades form a shortterm solution, at best, and that longer-term solutions are being sought. One possible idea involves surrounding bus stops and hitchhiking posts with small poles, which are as effective in stopping attacks but blend in better.
Local councils in Judea and Samaria would be the ones to implement such a solution if adopted, he said.
Capt. Irad Hershkowitz, engineering officer of the Samaria Brigade, said recent vehicular attacks had identifiable trends – in this case, a lone attacker.
“Today, every Palestinian who owns a car turns into a potential terrorist,” he said.
Meanwhile, the parents of one of the soldiers injured in the attack last week, criticized the IDF official who said the hit-and-run incident was a traffic accident and not a terrorist attack, saying their son told them he “heard the sound of the engine as he accelerated to hit us.”
“All the attempt to cover this up for [political] interests, for an agenda that is not for the good of the Israeli people, all those people should take back their words quickly,” Roni Aharoni said on Sunday outside the emergency unit at Hadassah University Medical Center in Ein Kerem where his son his hospitalized.