Right calls for new military campaign as IDF searches for Huwara shooter

Likud MK Danny Danon called for the shops along Route 60, which goes through Huwara, should be closed down despite many of them having loyal Israeli customers.

 Israeli security forces secure the scene of a shooting attack in Huwara, in the West Bank, near Nablus, August 19, 2023 (photo credit: FLASH90)
Israeli security forces secure the scene of a shooting attack in Huwara, in the West Bank, near Nablus, August 19, 2023
(photo credit: FLASH90)

The Right called for a new military campaign in the West Bank to root out terror and to shut down Huwara’s commercial center as the IDF continued to hunt for the terrorist who killed two Israelis in that Palestinian town on Saturday.

“I demand that the government embark on a long continuous military operation,” Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said. “There is no shortcut to the fight against terrorism, what worked in the past must work today,” he said.

MK Danny Danon (Likud) said that the shops in Huwara “must be immediately closed,” as he described the town as a “hotbed of terror.”

Danon spoke with Army Radio about the section of Route 60, the main artery that cuts across the West Bank, which goes through the Palestinian town of Huwara and is used by both Palestinians and Israelis.

The shops that line that section of the route cater to both Israelis and Palestinians, some of whom have loyal Israeli customers.

 Vehicles wait in line as Israeli troops check cars at a checkpoint near a shooting scene in Huwara in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 19, 2023.  (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/REUTERS)
Vehicles wait in line as Israeli troops check cars at a checkpoint near a shooting scene in Huwara in the Israeli-occupied West Bank August 19, 2023. (credit: RANEEN SAWAFTA/REUTERS)

What terrorist attacks happened in Huwara?

The two Israelis who were killed there, Silas (Shai) Nigerker, 60, and his son Aviad Nir, 28 from Ashdod had gone there on Saturday to visit friends, stopping for a haircut and a car wash, when they were shot to death.

Their killing returned the town – which has been the site of terror killings against Israelis and revenge attacks by settlers – to the headlines.

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich made a statement calling for Huwara to be wiped off the map, which he later retracted.

On Saturday night, the IDF sent troops to protect Palestinians in Huwara against any revenge attacks. The Palestinians reported that Jewish extremists stoned their vehicles in the area.

In an unusual move, an IDF soldier Sunday morning shot and wounded a masked Jewish assailant who had thrown an object at vehicles on Route 60.

MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit) attacked IDF Central Command head Yehuda Fox for that decision, explaining that it showed just how divorced he was from reality.

“The forces arrived yesterday to protect the residents of Huwara – what a distorted reality,” when it’s the residents of Judea and Samaria that need to be protected, she said.

Son Har-Melech told Radio 104.5 FM: “The media and the army had misled” the public to believe that Huwara was a town of Palestinians who wanted peace rather than what it was, a community of “murderers.”

Saturday’s attack, Son Har-Melech said, revealed the truth about the town as a home of killers. She noted that in the winter, Labor Party activist Yaya Fink had raised over NIS 1.7 million to help the residents of Huwara who had been harmed by Jewish vigilante attacks.

“I just hope that the money didn’t go to the murderer who killed that father and son in cold blood,” she said.

The Otzma Yehudit politician issued a particularly scathing attack on Fox, who she said, “does not know how to distinguish between Jews and terrorists.”

He can’t discern “between Jews who are rooted to the land and who are not ready to give it up to terrorists and murderers,” she said.

“There is a distorted reality here,” in which Fox “instills a pro-Arab policy that harms the Jews and the settlers,” she said, explaining that Fox had worked for years under the radar.

She complained that Fox had “worked under the radar” for many years. Fox has refused to put up checkpoints that could save lives, has gone “after the hilltop youth,” and “evacuated Jews.”

He “makes life miserable for us,” charged Son Har-Melech.

Fox “does not know how to distinguish between our enemies. He does not understand that an enemy must be subdued. He does not do that,” she said.

Transportation Minister Miri Regev blamed the Palestinian attacks against Israelis in Huwara on the absence of a bypass road, even though the father and son who were killed had chosen to go there from their home in Ashdod. Most Israelis who use the road through the town have no choice because it is the only route available.

“To my sorrow, the plan I started for the Huwara bypass road was halted by the previous government, which didn’t want to put funding in Judea and Samaria,” Regev told reporters outside the weekly government meeting.

The moment she returned to the office at the start of this year, Regev said she made sure that work on that road was resumed.

“You can already see the tractors working there,” she said, adding that she was speeding up the project and hoped to see results within months.

Labor Party leader MK Merav Michaeli, who was the transportation minister in the last government, accused Regev of lying. “Miri Regev is used to lying and blaming others for her failures – so for the sake of clarity let me say clearly: while I did not invest new budgets in Judea and Samaria, the Transportation Ministry under my leadership never blocked the Huwara bypass road,” she said.

Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Gadi Shamni, former IDF Central Command head, told Radio 103FM that “this bypass road should have been finished a long time ago” and had that occurred, “It would have prevented a lot of friction, but what? A few years ago they transferred it to the Transportation Ministry.

“It’s all politics, no one really cares about security,” he said.

Amid increased tensions, Palestinians in the West Bank village torched the vehicle of an Israeli driver who had accidentally entered the village of Turmus Aiya on Sunday evening.

Palestinian media shared footage of the vehicle on fire.

The village had been the site of an attack by Jewish extremists who had torched homes in the village.

Some of the village residents helped the driver exit safely, together with assistance from the IDF and the security team from the Binyamin Regional Council.

The village is located in Area A and Israelis are forbidden to enter. Huwara’s commercial center, in contrast, is in Area C, which is under IDF civilian and military control. Israelis are allowed to move freely in all parts of Area C.