Groups urge a return to security checkpoints
Groups urge a return to security checkpoints Israel News Photos: (file photo)

Two civil rights groups have slammed the government for its ongoing gifts and security concessions to the Palestinian Authority, following a terrorist attack on five young hikers in Samaria last Friday afternoon.

Three of the teens were injured, suffering serious, moderate and light wounds respectively, when one or two Arab terrorists opened fire as they trekked along a mountainous region at a spring in the Wadi Zarka area near the Jewish community of Halamish.

Almagor Victims of Terror Group: Open Roadblocks to Blame

Meir Indor, head of the Almagor Victims of Terror group, blamed the attack on the lack of security on newly-opened roads available to terrorists in Judea and Samaria due to security concessions to the Palestinian Authority by the Israeli government.

"The opening of the routes and the removal of the roadblocks, despite all warnings about areas that in the past were sites in which Israelis were murdered in a series of terrorist attacks, is a scandalous problem that resulted in this attack," said Indor. "The hikers who were seriously injured have paid the price for this scandalous decision, one that was made just to be able to present a series of gestures to the [PA]."

The IDF Spokesperson's Office issued a statement Saturday informing the media that more roadblocks had been removed in the area the same week.

"Ten roadblocks were removed in the area of Ramallah this week," read the statement. "One hundred roadblocks were removed so far in the region of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley as part of the relief plan authorized by the Minister of Defense and the IDF Chief of Staff which has been implemented in recent months.

"In accordance with political echelon directives and in light of security assessments, the IDF and Civil Administration are implementing a series of relief measures for Palestinian [Authority Arabs] in Judea and Samaria," it added.

Land of Israel Legal Forum: Stop Giving Them Guns

Nachi Eyal, head of the Land of Israel Legal Forum, called on the government to end the transfer of weapons and other military equipment to PA security forces.

"The forum calls upon the government to halt the transfer of weapons and tanks to the Palestinian Authority following Friday's terrorist attack in the Binyamin region. The source of the weapons that were used in that attack must be investigated," warned Eyal. "Attorneys for the Forum are currently investigating the legality of prosecuting those who handed over weapons to our PA Arab neighbors since [our] leaders can no longer claim that the PLO and its supporters do not use their weapons to harm Israeli citizens."

For almost two years, Israel has been approving the transfer of brand-new weapons, ammunition, armored vehicles and other material to PA forces, as well as special advanced military training for the troops in Jericho and Jordan under the supervision of US General Keith Dayton.

One year ago, Hamas terrorists acquired most of the new weaponry when they ousted PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah forces from Gaza. The Fatah security forces left their weapons behind when they fled Gaza. Those that remained surrendered their new guns and ammunition to Hamas terrorists, who now control Gaza.

Moreover, in the past year, several American-trained PA Fatah security officers have carried out terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, and have murdered a number of people, including teenagers.

IDF Informed of the Route Prior to Hike

Contrary to initial IDF reports, the young men who were attacked near the community of Halamish Friday afternoon had notified authorities of their trip, and the route they were taking. The hikers included four students from the yeshiva at Itamar, north of Beit El and Ofra, and one former yeshiva student who is an IDF soldier.

The group notified Itamar's security officer of the trip, and he informed the area's Nahal army unit. The Arab terrorists shot at the group when most of them were in a spring of water. The soldier also was in the water, and he eventually retrieved his revolver and returned fire, but he did not manage to hit the attackers, both of whom fled the scene.

Although the spring is in a well-known and popular hiking area, it is also in a spot that is located in difficult terrain with limited vehicle access.

The IDF force that arrived searched the area for the attackers, and medics from the Israel Air Force 669 aerial medical rescue unit treated the wounded on site before airlifting them by military helicopter to Tel HaShomer Hospital in Tel Aviv.

Two victims are listed in light condition, but a third - Avraham (ben Malka) Kasir of Mevo Horon, who was seriously wounded, has undergone surgery and is now listed in moderate condition.