Amid Escalation, IDF to Check Every Palestinian Vehicle on West Bank Roads Shared With Israelis

Checks concentrate on Hebron and Bethlehem, but random checks implemented in rest of West Bank; Israeli woman hurt in West Bank stabbing attack succumbs to wounds.

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Israeli soldiers in Halhul junction, north of Hebron, in early November, 2015.
Israeli soldiers in Halhul junction, north of Hebron, in early November, 2015.Credit: AP
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Following the terror wave the Israeli army started checking every Palestinian vehicle on roads used by Israelis in the Hebron and Bethlehem areas. Random checks were implemented in the rest of the West Bank. 

According to army sources, the new guidelines were accepted on Friday, and were first implemented by forces on Saturday.  In areas were no roadblocks were erected, some junctions were completely closed off.

In recent days, the Israel Defense Forces reinforced its troops in Hebron and Gush Etzion, and two additional infantry battalions were deployed in those areas. The forces in the area are now at their highest level since the current unrest broke out last month.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkott decided on the reinforcement after an assessment of the security situation in the Hebron area after a series of terror attacks perpetrated by Hebron Palestinians killed several Israelis. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday that he has instructed security forces to concentrate their efforts around Hebron. "We implement roadblocks, arrests and closures and reinforcing troops. We've done the same in Jerusalem when most of the attacks issued from there," he said. "We're facing terrorism of lone-wolves with kitchen knives, incited by social media. It's hard to hermetically prevent a knifer from getting to this place or another." 

On Sunday, 21-year-old Hadar Buchris was killed in a stabbing attack in the Gush Etzion Junction in the West Bank. The assailant, 34-year-old Isam Thwabteh from Beit Fajar, a village near Hebron, was shot dead. Last Thursday, a Palestinian from the village of Dura near Hebron killed two Israelis at a synagogue in Tel Aviv. The Palestinian, Riad Mahmoud Al-Masalma, had a permit to enter Israel, contrary to other West Bank Palestinians who carried out attacks in the recent terror wave. On the same day, three people – an Israeli, an American and a Palestinian – were killed in a shooting in Gush Etzion. The shooter, Mohammed Haroub, was from the village of Dir Sammit, near Hebron. 

Israeli soldiers stand guard at the scene of a terror attack near the Gush Etzion block of settlements south of Jerusalem in the West Bank, on November 22, 2015. Upper left: Hadar Buchris.Credit: AFP

Following the attacks, Israeli army forces set up dirt embankments on the roads from Dir Sammit and Beit Fajar. However, the army stressed that the villages aren't under closure, since some exits remain open. 

Meanwhile, dozens of settlers have been blocking several roads in the South Hebron Hills areas. The IDF said it deployed troops to the sites of the demonstrations.

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