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Vandalism Plunges Samaria Jews into Darkness

Jews in Samaria suffer blackout. The problem: power line is routed through a hostile Arab town.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 1/7/2014, 11:01 PM

Power outage in Itamar
Power outage in Itamar
Courtesy of the community

Israelis living in the town of Itamar in Samaria (Shomron) were dismayed when their power suddenly went out Tuesday afternoon. While at first the power outage appeared to stem from a technical failure, an investigation revealed a more sinister reason: residents of a nearby Palestinian Arab town had deliberately cut power to their Jewish neighbors.

The power went down due to vandalism of a power line outside the nearby PA-controlled town of Awarta.

Awarta has a long history of hostility to Itamar. In one notorious attack, two teenagers from Awarta entered Itamar and brutally murdered Rabbi Ehud Fogel, his wife Ruth, and three of their six children, including a three-month-old baby.

The attackers later expressed pride in their actions. Other residents of Awarta later entered Itamar and told locals, “We will turn you into Fogels” while drawing their fingers across their throats.

The power line to Itamar goes through Awarta, a set-up which locals say leaves them vulnerable. Residents issued renewed calls to change the situation as Tuesday’s blackout stretched into the evening hours.

“This is absurd. They’ve made the residents of Itamar hostage to Awarta when it comes to getting power,” Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said.

“It’s unthinkable that residents of Itamar should be forced to repeatedly suffer blackouts that Awarta residents cause deliberately,” he continued. Mesika appealed to the Electric Company to “find a solution to this absurd situation.”

The current arrangement is not necessary, he added. “Itamar could be connected to a line running from the Jordan Valley, as we have requested again and again. This would end the dependence on the family of the Fogel family murderers,” he said.