Don't sacrifice Israeli lives

The government has taken steps that put the residents of Judea and Samaria at risk.

Gaza terrorist 298 AP (photo credit: AP)
Gaza terrorist 298 AP
(photo credit: AP)
Moving to Israel at the height of the intifada in the winter of 2002, my wife and I soon became fatalists. With Arab terrorists daily carrying out suicide bombings and shooting attacks, we decided that the only way we were going to live a somewhat normal existence - go out to eat, travelling on roads throughout the country - was by rationalizing that "when it's your time it's your time." Based on that philosophy, we've traveled freely by private car all over Israel over the past six years - including Judea and Samaria, and more recently Sderot, where the threat of coming under enemy fire is actually greater. But last week, as a result of recent government gestures towards our "peace partners," we were a little nervous traveling to my in-laws, who live in Kedumim in the Shechem bloc, east of Kfar Saba. The reason for our concern was that in one of the most recent signs of good will, Defense Minister Barak ordered the IDF to dismantle 50 unmanned barricades throughout Samaria, even though barricades and roadblocks are proven terror deterrents. Luckily, we arrived at our destination unscathed. But recent history has shown that it's only a matter of time before our enemies take advantage of the eased restrictions to mount attacks. IN ADDITION to the reduction in barricades, it has been reported that the government has taken further steps in recent weeks that potentially put the lives of residents of Judea and Samaria at greater risk. These include: • the reduction by 70 percent of IDF Home Front Command funding by the for the maintenance of defense system in local communities. The money is allocated to repair electronic fences, cameras and other sensors. This reduction took place despite the increase in criminal infiltrations which often lead to terrorist attacks. • a reduction in funding for the installation of plastic windows in cars, despite the increase in stoning attacks throughout Judea and Samaria • a halt in funding for bullet-proof windows • the confiscation of army-issued weapons used for personal protection and of communities' weapons caches held in storage. ALONG WITH these security-related risks, the Olmert government continues to implement a building freeze throughout Judea and Samaria, even inside consensus communities. Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman recently told The Jerusalem Post that no building projects have been authorized "for the last four years." Based on the above evidence, it seems that by hook or by crook our government is doing everything in its power to destroy the "settlement movement" as we know it. The rationale seems to be that if Israelis can no longer build homes in Judea and Samaria and our enemies have more opportunities to attack them, eventually despair will set in and the Israelis there will "come home" to pre-1967 Israel. Perhaps the government is trying to make its own life easier should another Gush Katif-style withdrawal arise, so that there would be fewer residents around to resist evacuation. Yet no matter what type of shenanigans the government pulls, and no matter how great the will of our enemy to shed Jewish blood, the residents of Judea Samaria will not abandon their communities or their way of life. As was the case in Gush Katif, the vast majority of residents will not seek compensation to relocate and will remain in their homes till the very end. The most disheartening aspect of the current situation is that more Jewish lives may be lost senselessly in the communities and on the roads of Judea and Samaria as a result of these government decrees curtailing means of defense. The government of Israel is sending the unsettling message that the blood of those living on the wrong side of an imaginary line on a map is not as red as their fellow countrymen. The writer is the former spokesman for the Yesha Council and is currently the president of a Jerusalem-based PR firm.