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Southern Gush Etzion Residents Take Security Into Own Hands

Residents of the Gush Etzion community of Karmei Tzur, due to be left on the "other" side of Israel's Partition Wall, have decided to take the deteriorating security situation into their own hands.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 12/6/2005, 2:19 PM / Last Update: 12/6/2005, 2:25 PM


Shlomo Ne'eman, a member of Karmei Tzur's municipality told Arutz-7 that residents have become fed up with the IDF's systematic ignoring of all their requests to deal with the Arabs who target vehicles driving on the Hevron-Jerusalem road with rocks and firebombs.

Residents say they refuse to abandon their homes, as they suspect the IDF response is intended to induce them to do. "But we are also no longer willing to be placed at the mercy of the Arab hooligans and watch as our children are targeted on their way to and from school each day," Ne'eman said.

Tuesday morning, at 7 AM, residents deployed along the main road, armed with their weapons used for guard-duty in their community. "We stood all morning near the neighboring Arab villages of Beit Umar and El Aroub and we guarded the road," Ne'eman described. "And we intend to continue guarding until the army comes to its senses and takes matters into its own hands."

Ne'eman said that the IDF was fully informed that the initiative was taking place and that the results of it were immediately apparent. "Today, as opposed to every other day recently, the children's school buses made it to their destinations without incident."

Karmei Tzur is about a half-hour from Jerusalem and is part of the Gush Etzion bloc of Jewish communities in Judea. Jews lived in Gush Etzion until they were expelled in 1948 by the Jordanian army. Many children of the expelled residents resettled there after the region was liberated in the 1967 Six Day War.

There is a move, particularly in Jewish towns in Samaria, to replace IDF forces with local volunteers in order to remove the media-backed perception that those living in Judea and Samaria force other Israelis to protect them. The move is also intended to have in place dedicated security forces unfettered by government policies and the chain of command.

Organizers of the initiative say that it is also aimed at thwarting suspected plans to allow the security situation to deteriorate for communities on the other side of the Partition Wall, thereby inducing them to willingly abandon their homes.