Cutback of Israeli troops on West Bank led to upsurge of Palestinian terror. Four Israelis dead
Amid a wave of terror that has hit Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria during the holiday of Sukkot, and which has already resulted in the murder of four Israelis, it is necessary to point a finger at some senior IDF officers and members of the Israeli security establishment as partially responsible.
Putting all political issues aside, we point to a decision by IDF Chief of Staff Gady Eisenkot to reduce the number of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria so as to detach them for other missions, that we are unable to reveal here. It was a serious error for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to approve the troop reduction in the face of warnings regarding a surge in terror attacks, especially in Jerusalem.
Yaalon and Eisenkot corrected this error on Thursday, October 1, immediately after the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin by killers who appeared to function like professionals. They ordered the immediate redeployment of four battalions to flashpoint areas in Judea and Samaria.
There is no way to immediately turn the clock back and restore security to these areas overnight. It will take time and, meanwhile, there more terror attacks are foreseen in the near future.
The general feeling in some military quarters is that the commanders responsible for security in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem, down to the heads of regional brigades were not the right choices for dealing with complex and sensitive security situations. The officials who made those appointments must be held responsible for incorrectly presuming that the situation in those areas would stay calm in the long term and therefore failing to instal officers best able to handle the current threats.
In the space of 48 hours, during the Jewish festival season, two pairs of Israel parents were attacked by Palestinian terrorists. After gunmen killed the first couple Eitam and Na’ama Henkin in a drive-by ambush near Alon More Thursday night, a second couple and their two-year old child were knifed in the Old City of Jerusalem Saturday night, Oct. 3 by a another Palestinian terrorist on their way to the Western Wall. They were among a large crowd thronging through the main street to the Kotel.
The father and a second man died of their injuries before reaching hospital, the mother is in grave condition.. The child was struck in the foot. A fourth victim is in very serious condition. After his stabbing attack, the terrorist snatched the sidearm of one of his victims and began shooting at passing tourists before Border Guards police cut him down. The dead terrorist has meanwhile been identified as Muhand Halabi, 19, from El Bireh near Ramallah.
The victims were later named as Nehamia Lavi, 41, resident of the Old City of Jerusalem and a rabbi at he Ateret Cohanim Yeshiva. Rabbi Lavi was married with seven children, and Aharon Bennett, 23, an IDF serviceman, who lived with his wife and two-year old son in Beitar Ilit. His wife and the second woman injured in the attack are in grave condition. The child was slightly hurt.
Jerusalem is beset for some weeks now by fast escalating aggressive Palestinian terror.The heavily beefed up forces of Border Guards and IDF troops are clearly failing to staunch or avert the rising violence.
The fatal stabbing attack in Jerusalem Saturday followed two overnight attacks elsewhere in the city: gunfire on an Israeli vehicle near Maale Adummim. In the southern district, gunshots from Jebel Mukabar reached the neighboring Jewish neighborhood of Nof Zion. No one was hurt in both these incidents. Saturday night, there was more shooting from Jebel Mukabar.
Police have imposed a curfew on the Old City of Jerusalem and shut all the gates to Temple Mount.
The large-scale army raid of Nablus in pursuit of the murderers of Eitam and Na'ama Henkin has rounded up a number of suspects.