As July 1 date approaches for annexation of settlement blocks in Judea and Samaria, residents of towns south of Hebron fear being left out and surrounded by a hostile Palestinian state.
By World Israel News Staff
Residents of Israeli settlements in the south Hebron Hills are scared stiff that implementing the Trump peace plan will shut them out and expose them to attacks by Palestinians, Arutz 7 reported Friday.
“That would be a nightmare,” said Othniel resident Efrat Dahan, 37. “We won’t be able to leave without a military escort, there will be more bombs, more shooting, stones, Molotov cocktails.”
Located some 50 kilometers (25 miles) south of Jerusalem, Palestinian terrorists have targeted Otniel in the past. In one of the most brutal attacks Dafna Meir, a mother of six, was stabbed to death in 2016 by a Palestinian teenager who said had been influenced by Palestinian TV programs that incited terror.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has set July 1 as his target date to annex large settlement blocs in the Jordan Valley, Judea and Samaria in line with the peace proposals unveiled in January by President Donald Trump.
It is estimated that up to 20 settlements may be left outside of the areas to be annexed and Israelis living there fear they will be left exposed to Palestinian attacks despite the peace plan pledging “appropriate security protection” for remote settlements.
“We will be very afraid,” said Dahan, who believes Palestinian Authority police will do nothing to safeguard her and the thousand residents of Otniel if a Palestinian state is created as outlined in the Trump plan. “But we know that God is with us.”
Har Hebron Regional Council chairman Yochai Damari said there is a “lack of logic” in the peace plan.
“Otniel is here,” he said, pointing on a large map he said reflected the US proposals. “All that we see in red is the Palestinian state and those are the (Jewish) enclaves in the state.”
“We were sent here by the state of Israel,” said Damari, whose parents founded Otniel around 40 years ago. “But we want to check that we will not suffer damages or that we will not be put in danger.”
Netanyahu has not revealed details of the map showing which settlements will be included in the annexation.
A poll released earlier this week by the Israel Democracy Institute showed 58 percent of Israelis think annexation will spark a third Palestinian intifada. The previous intifadas were marked by waves of suicide bombings and shooting attacks that killed over 1,000 Israelis.
However, despite the fears 50 percent of Israelis surveyed said they supported annexation.
Otniel businessman Assaf Fassi was shot in the chest during an attack on the settlement during the second intifada that left four people dead.
“I worked really hard to provide for my family’s needs, I want to know what will happen,” Fassi said. “We don’t know if we can build, if we can develop, if my children will be able to live here.”