Violence by Arabs from Haifa to Be’er Sheva has grown into new full-blown Intifada, but so far the IDF is holding fire despite deaths in the recent past in the same circumstances . The increasing violence is forcing the IDF to heighten its presence on the highways, and terrorists, already used to de facto control, may escalate their attacks.
Dozens of daily rock-throwing attacks on highways in Judea and Samaria were recorded the past week, causing massive damage to cars, light injuries and near death. In Haifa, two solders in civilian clothes narrowly escaped with their lives in a brutal attack that police are claiming was not nationalist and was a case of “mistaken identity.”
However, the assailants asked the two men if they were Jews before they began viciously assaulting them with clubs.
In the area of Be’er Sheva, the village of Tel Sheva has become a Hamas enclave where Israeli police rarely dare to enter. The government provides armed escorts for Jewish social and health workers who enter the Bedouin-populated area.
In Judea and Samaria, Palestinian Authority Arabs have terrorized women drivers by staging fake car accidents and then stealing their cars.
Two more Jewish residents narrowly escaped death Sunday morning when a rock ambush cut off the highway under the eyes of IDF soldiers in a “pillbox” tower on the side of the road.
The soldiers fired bullets in the air at the rate of only one minute and without any effect, Rivka Nir told Arutz Sheva. She was in a car driven by another woman on their way from Beit Haggai, immediately southwest of Hevron, to Efrat, the largest community in the Gush Etzion bloc along Highway 60.
Faced with the alternative of being attacked while standing in a lane of other cars whose drivers did not want to take the chance of failing to succeed to pass harmlessly through the maze of boulders, the two women decided to "run the gauntlet."
Nir said she encouraged the driver to try to escape, and “she pressed the gas pedal and zig-zagged her way to safety, when an IDF jeep finally approached from the other direction.”
Rock-throwing attacks, intended to cause fatal accidents, are the most violent since the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada, which began in September 2000, with over a thousand Israelis killed by terror acts. It never really ended, with sporadic violence that has worsened since the Palestinian Authority has failed to force Israel to accept its diplomatic and political demands. These include surrendering large areas of Jerusalem, all of Judea and Samaria, declaring Jerusalem as a divided capital, sovereignty over the Temple Mount and Old City, and the immigration to Israel of five million foreign Arabs.
The IDF’s former policy of keeping a low profile in order to avoid provoking Arabs has left a vacuum that terrorists have exploited, particularly on Highway 60, a main artery which stretches from northern Samaria to Gush Etzion south of Jerusalem, and to Hevron-Kiryat Arba and the southern Hevron Hills. Another hot spot has been the main highway connecting Kfar Saba, on the northern edge of metropolitan Tel Aviv with central Samaria communities.
The writing was on the wall late last year, when rock-throwing terrorists scored a direct hit on the windshield of Kiryat Arba resident Asher Palmer, who lost control of his car and crashed on to the shoulder, causing his own death and that of his baby boy.
The police initially concluded that the deaths were due to a routine traffic accident until Arutz Sheva published photographic evidence proving that the car had come under attack by rock-throwing terrorists.
The IDF apparently has carried out of strategy of minimal interference, allowing virtual anarchy on the roads, which already are dangerous due to wild driving by local villagers. Many of them drive without licenses and with cars that have no permit to be on the roads.