An attempt by a Palestinian Authority Arab to enter the community of Itamar on Thursday disguised as a hareidi Jew was thwarted at the last moment.
The incident began in the afternoon hours, when the community’s security personnel someone who looked like a Jew wandering near the olive trees adjacent to the community.
Itamar’s security coordinator drove to the area, thinking that it was a Jew trying to steal olives. When he reached the olive grove he realized that the man was a disguised Arab. The suspect fled towards the nearby Arab village of Awarta, and was chased by the security coordinator and by IDF forces that were called to the scene. Two suspects were subsequently arrested.
Several weeks ago, the Israeli Civil Administration allowed local Arabs to enter Itamar to harvest olives.
The Arabs, some of whom were members of the Awad family that brutally murdered five members of the Fogel family last March, used the opportunity to throw rocks at Itamar residents and yell at them, “We will turn you into Fogels”, while drawing fingers across their throats to emphasize the threat.
Last year, Hakim Awad, one of the Fogels’ murderers, used the harvest as a means of gathering intelligence about the town's homes and residents.
Thursday’s incident was met with anger by officials in Samaria, with Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika saying, “The conduct of the Civil Administration and the Ministry of Defense regarding the harvest is irresponsible and bordering on anarchy. There is a dangerous failure in allowing the Arabs to gather intelligence and come close to communities in the name of the sanctity of the harvest. I call on the Prime Minister to stop this lawlessness.”
Benny Katzover, chairman of the Samaria Residents’ Council responded to the incident as well as and said, “The wanton conduct of allowing Arabs to harvest at all costs, even in problematic areas, proves that the Arab harvest is meant to produce blood rather than oil, and that all of it is sponsored by the High Court and the Civil Administration.”