The battle for the checkpoint is escalating: a checkpoint near the community of Hermesh, through which the terrorist who murdered Meir Tamari escaped last week, is at the base of a head-on confrontation between residents and the IDF. After the attack, the IDF blocked the access road leading to Area A, under full Palestinian Authority control, but a few days later the gate was opened.
Do not evacuate despite an order declaring a closed military zone, photo: Forum for the Struggle for Northern Samaria
Following the opening of the gate, nearby communities protested and blocked Arab traffic with their bodies, demanding that the IDF restore the checkpoint. On Thursday morning, after a night of protest, a truck arrived and installed new concrete blocks at the site, which residents hoped was a sign of victory in their struggle, but the gate was opened wide a short time later. In response, residents blocked the access road again.
The gate, residents say, opened a day after the end of the shiva days. According to the residents, the IDF promised after the murder that the checkpoint would be closed and staffed with fighters, but already during the shiva days the checkpoint was abandoned more than once or twice and has now been completely opened.
Do not evacuate despite closed military zone order
Following the opening of the checkpoint, dozens of residents left the community of Hermesh, where Meir Tamari lived, and other nearby communities and blocked the checkpoint with their bodies for more than 16 hours. In an attempt to prevent the residents' protests, Brigade Commander Menashe imposed a closed military zone order on the junction last night, but the residents refused to leave until the IDF agreed to man the checkpoint again.
Avi Winograd, a resident of Hermesh, who participated in blocking the junction until the wee hours of the night, said: "I came home from work yesterday and what I saw in front of my eyes was a sad joke. Dozens of Arab vehicles pass through the checkpoint unhindered without any inspection, even though the military explicitly promised us after the attack that the checkpoint would be closed and inspected. We got to the intersection and just parked the car across the road and blocked traffic. And lo and behold, as soon as we blocked ourselves, the soldiers who were in the field started turning the Arab vehicles themselves and hermetically blocking traffic."
"As if nothing had happened. It's as if a Jew wasn't murdered here a week ago," Photo: Forum for the Struggle for Northern Samaria
"Tomorrow at 4 a.m. we will also be here," Winograd promises, "to block and make sure that Arab vehicles do not pass without inspection. The military issued a closed military zone order on the junction to prevent us from demonstrating, but we'll continue to be here no matter what, because we're tired of being ducks at the shooting range.
"Make promises during the inauguration"
"I personally took it upon myself to stand here at the checkpoint until the army comes to its senses. I'm not willing to let my son cross the checkpoint here back from school when we don't even have the bare minimum of security. During the shiva, we were promised a lot of promises, but in reality, the checkpoint is open and vehicles pass freely as if nothing had happened. It's as if a Jew wasn't murdered here a week ago under the cover of this failure," Winograd concluded sadly.
David Shuk, also a resident of Hermesh, joined Winograd's remarks, saying, "Unfortunately, the reality is that only when we are in the field do Arab vehicles not pass through the checkpoint. We will probably have to continue to be here until the IDF comes to its senses because at the moment it is not doing its job. We will continue to block the junction until this checkpoint is closed," Shook said.
"IDF refuses to change floppy disk"
The "Zero Terrorist Incidents" campaign headquarters, which is behind the protests of residents in Judea and Samaria, said in response: Unfortunately, once again the IDF's policy of containment, which for many months contained and restrained dozens of shooting attacks in northern Samaria, led to a tragic result in which a father of children was murdered near his home. Even after the shocking attack, it seems that the IDF refuses to change the diskette and launch a comprehensive and fundamental operation to eradicate terrorism, and insists on continuing its routine as if nothing had happened."
"This may be a sad conclusion, but reality in recent years has proven that there is nothing more effective than the residents' protests. Wherever residents stopped their daily routine and went out to protest at intersections and demand security, the IDF was eventually forced to take harsher and more determined actions that brought an end to the attacks. We strengthen the residents of northern Samaria in their just and vital struggle and call on the rest of the residents of Judea and Samaria to join them," the headquarters said.
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