Last week, Israel removed a West Bank road block on the very road where 40-year-old Meir Hai was killed in a shooting attack Thursday afternoon, so said an Israel Defense Forces officer who preferred to remain nameless.
The roadblock, known as the barrels road block, the officer said, monitored the traffic around Nablus in the direction of Tul Karm. The perpetrators of Thursday's attack, apparently fled through the point where this roadblock used to be, the officer explained.
Hai, a father of seven, was killed in his car when he was fired upon from a passing vehicle between the West Bank settlement of Shavei Shomron, where he lived, and the nearby settlement of Einav. A little-known affiliate of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, calling itself the Imad Mughniyeh Group, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The attack sparked harsh responses among right wingers. The Yesha settlers' council issued a statement saying that "the murderous shooting attack in Samaria is a direct result of the policy of lifting restrictions on the Palestinians, removal of necessary road blocks in Judea and Samaria and the transfer of the responsibility for security to those whose ranks produced many terrorists who murdered Jews. As in the case of similar incidents in the past, once again the gestures aimed at [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas] Abu Mazen carry a price tag of Jewish blood."
MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said in response to the attack that "the path of capitulation, the opening of arteries, the [settlement] freeze and the release of [Palestinian] prisoners that [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has brought down upon us signals to terrorists that Jewish blood is negligible. The terrorist probably thinks that he will be released in the next exchange."
"The Arabs interpret the Israeli government's decisions as a green light to harm settlers," he added.
Another settler committee issued a statement saying that "the murder is a completely predictable outcome of the government's behavior. Anyone who plans to wage war against his Jewish brothers, essentially helps Arab terrorists."
"This is how thing look when the government's and the army's top priority is the release of murderers and persecute Jewish settlers," the statement went on to say.
The head of the Samaria regional council, Gershon Mesika, said that "after a long period of calm, the central roadblock between Samaria communities and Tul Karm was recently removed. This, despite our warnings. The government of Israel put the 'Palestinian fabric of life' above the lives of its citizens."
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