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'They Were Going to Murder Me With Cinder Blocks'

Witness of Arab lynch attack in Gush Etzion recalls harrowing moment 50 Arabs charged the highway and IDF soldiers did nothing.

Ari Yashar,

Victin of Gush Etzion Arab mob
Victin of Gush Etzion Arab mob
Josh Hasten

On his routine commute to work in Jerusalem on Wednesday morning, Josh Hasten, a resident of Elazar in the Gush Etzion area of Judea and freelance journalist, was nearly murdered by an Arab mob armed with cinder blocks.

Hasten told Arutz Sheva about the harrowing incident, in which a Jewish woman was wounded by rocks and kicks from the Arab terrorists who tried to drag her from her car.

Reliving the attack, Hasten noted that he normally takes the tunnel road to Jerusalem, but because of rain and traffic he chose to drive through the community of Tekoa in eastern Gush Etzion, and pointed out that he travels freely in the region.

As he passed Tekoa, just 500 meters from the IDF checkpoint outside Jerusalem's Har Homa, he saw the cars in front of him slow down and, thinking nothing of it, he passed them in his vehicle.

At that point he realized why they had slowed down - at the entrance to the Arab village of Beit Sahur on the right side of the road, a mob of 30 to 50 Arab assailants were hurtling down towards the highway and directly at his car with cinder blocks and rocks clutched in their hands.

Faced with the oncoming mob of armed Arab attackers, Hasten drew his handgun, and noted that at the sight of it the mob paused but didn't leave.

He then fired a warning shot in the air, which sent them up the hill and potentially prevented them from murdering him and his fellow motorists. Hasten commented that being armed is important for residents to be able to defend themselves.

The Elazar resident then drove to the IDF checkpoint, where he saw women crying and realized the extent of the attacks.

One car had its back window smashed in, and he found the woman who had been inside it on the ground crying, suffering from shock.

It was at the checkpoint that he also found out the Arabs tried to conduct a lynching on one female motorist, pulling her doors open before she managed to "kick it into reverse and survive."

"They were going to pull her out of the car and kill her," said Hasten. "They tried to kill this girl, and they were going to murder me with cinder blocks."

The near-victim of the lynch mob managed to make it back to Tekoa and an ambulance arrived to take her for treatment, he learned at the checkpoint.

"Soldiers not given the order to end this"

Most surprising for Hasten was the response he received from soldiers at the IDF checkpoint, after he drove to it having escaped the Arab rioters.

"A soldier at the checkpoint said we can't leave our post," Hasten recalled, at which point he told the soldier that just 500 meters away Arab rioters were attacking motorists.

The soldier's response? "If you want to take care of it go but I can't move," relates the surprised resident, who said he was told the soldiers were given orders that they can't move past a certain sign on the road.

Hasten went back to where the rioters had charged the road, only to find that soldiers were present but "standing around thinking about what to do," showing that they were "operationally clueless."

He strongly emphasized that he doesn't blame the soldiers, but rather blames the higher ups who have not given them clear orders for handling such situations.

Arab residents were standing on the ridge above, celebrating and screaming while throwing things down at the soldiers who were standing around, and shortly afterwards more army jeeps arrived and began to fire tear gas at the rioters.

It was only after a full 20 to 30 minutes that the forces finally began to chase the assailants into the village, said Hasten, relating that the soldiers justified not taking action until that point because they were armed with rubber bullets and tear gas.

According to Hasten, despite the government claiming this week following several brutal murders by Arab terrorists that it is changing security on the ground, as far as the soldiers are concerned, "these guys clearly don't have an order to end the violence on the spot."

This "gap on operational procedure" is a huge danger, he said.

"Dismantle the PA"

When asked about his call in his video testimony on Facebook to get rid of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Hasten told Arutz Sheva how he envisions the steps needed in order to bring order to Judea and Samaria.

"The PA must be dismantled," emphasized Hasten, noting that the region has been on the same path of Arab terror and instability for over 20 years.

Israel has "paid in Jewish blood in the streets," he noted, saying the terrorism "never stopped. It came in waves but it never stopped for one day, since the beginning of (the) Oslo (Accords)."

"It's not an intifada, it's a war, not sudden violence," stressed Hasten.

Regarding the PA, he reasoned that they're "not a partner, they're an enemy. The leadership has to throw out this notion that we can count on Fatah to protect Jews and to fight terror."

He concluded by calling for politicians who say the PA needs to fight terror to wake up to the reality: "the PA is terror."

One of the victims of the Arab mob attack Josh Hasten
Car with window smashed by Arabs at IDF checkpoint Josh Hasten




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