El-Matan Residents Demand Reopening of Safer Road

Residents of the Samaria community of El-Matan are demanding that the government reopen a safer road that had been closed to them.

Moshe Cohen,

Community of El Matan
Community of El Matan
El Matan Community

Residents of the Samaria community of El-Matan, where Arab terrorists last week firebombed a car, badly injuring an 11 year old girl, are demanding that the government reopen a road that had been closed to them. The road, they say, is much more secure than the one they are currently forced to use.

In a letter to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, residents said that the the attack last Thursday was to be expected, given that the community had been the victim of dozens of attacks in recent months. Arab terrorists had thrown rocks and firebombs at them numerous times at the same spot on the road where Avner Shapira and his 11 year old daughter Ayala were attacked. Avner escaped with light injuries, but Ayala was badly hurt, and was still fighting for her life Sunday. Doctors over the weekend reported a slight improvement in her condition.

El-Matan is a part of the municipal lands of the Ma'ale Shomron local authority, and in fact a road of about one kilometer extends from the new community to the established town. However, that road was closed by the IDF after local Arabs filed a petition with the High Court, claiming that the road crosses on land they own. The Court is still considering that case, and the Arabs have not yet produced any proof of ownership.

Instead of keeping the road closed indefinitely until the Arabs come up with proof of ownership – which after over ten years they have failed to do – residents are demanding that the road be reopened until the case is settled. In addition, they pointed out, the road itself does not cross any cultivated land and would not interfere with the Arabs' agricultural activities.

Instead of traveling just a few hundred meters on a safe and stable road, the residents wrote, “we are forced to travel on a narrow 4.5 kilometer road that hangs over a cliff, without shoulders. Only one vehicle can travel in a single direction at one time, and there is no room to make a U-turn – and that was the reason Avner Shapira did not turn around when he saw the terrorists. IDF soldiers also cannot see most of the road from their lookout.”

Regarding the Arabs' claim to ownership of the land through which the shorter road crosses, residents said that the court had decided to close it down without hearing from “the parties most injured by the decision, the residents of El-Matan. In addition, the Arabs' claim has never been proven and the case has never been resolved.”

The Israel Security Agency (ISA or Shin Bet) on Saturday night lifted a gag order on the arrest of the terrorists who committed the firebomb attack in Ma'ale Shomron in Samaria last Thursday, in which 11-year-old Ayala Shapira was critically wounded and her father Avner lightly wounded as their car went up in flames. Several hours after the attack, roughly a dozen young Arab suspects from the nearby town of Kfar Azoun were arrested, according to the ISA report. In investigation, the two terrorists who committed the attack - one of whom was a 16-year-old minor - admitted to carrying out the attack.




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