The intersection outside of Ofra, the morning after a terrorist attack left seven injured, December 10th, 2018.
(photo credit: TPS)
Moments before the soldiers were attacked, they stopped for coffee and tea by Raz Chen’s small wagon coffee shop, which he had set up just the week before outside the Givat Assaf outpost.
“They had coffee and tea. They ordered Borekes and Malaweh. A few moments after they drank and ate, we heard shots,” said Chen, as he stood in the truck behind his counter, cutting up food for customers.
He recalled the moments of the attack, when a Palestinian gunmen killed two soldiers and wounded another soldier and a civilian.
“We went out to the road. When we understood it was an attack, we went to help,” he said. “But to our sorrow, they were already dead.”
His truck is located in the parking lot, just below the Givat Assaf outpost, a small hilltop community of caravans that was built in 2001. If was named after Ofra resident Assaf Hershkovitz, who was killed there by a Palestinian gunmen.
Settlers believe their presence at the junction between the main artery, Route 60, which cuts across the West Bank and a small road that leads to the Beit El settlement and Ramallah is critical to ensure security on the road.
But the outpost, built partially private Palestinian property, has been under constant threat of demolition. Four homes there have been destroyed under a court order. The state in 2013 promised it would legalize the outpost by using sections of the property that is on state land, but has yet to do so.
Givat Assaf secretary Menachem Bakush said that he already knows that when the prime minister talks about responding to the attack by authorizing Jewish building, his small community is not on that list.
Bakush, who is also a medic with United Hatzalah, said that he was among the first responders to the scene.
“It was a very difficult scene
. You cannot describe it,” he said, adding that there was a lot of blood. “It was more like a massacre.”
Social workers were in the community on Thursday to talk with the residents, who said are fearful and angry.
“Today, right now, there are people standing there. They have no choice,” he said.
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