“The real enemy in Judea and Samaria is the illegal building and massive takeover of lands by the Arabs in area C,” Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman stated.
By Atara Beck, World Israel News
On Tuesday morning, soldiers, volunteers and nearby residents witnessed the removal of a Pina Chama – Hebrew for a ‘warm corner’ – one of several spots in Gush Etzion where IDF soldiers can drop by for a cold or hot drink with a snack.
These refreshment stations are manned by volunteers who welcome the soldiers, offering them a respite from their stressful duties. Cakes, cookies and other goodies are mostly baked by local residents. Often, on special occasions, like Israel’s Independence Day, these stations host barbecues and other celebratory events, strengthening the morale of the soldiers.
The station that was removed Tuesday was situated outside the community of Nokdim. The order for its removal came from the Civil Administration, which is under the Ministry of Defense, headed by Benny Gantz.
Residents who had set up the Pina Chama said they had permission. But even if they were wrong, a community spokesperson said, “instead of coordinating with the community [of Nokdim] and allowing us to move the corner to another location, the administration decided to come and evacuate the station by force – immediately.”
“We are trying to act to stop its removal. The chairman of the Council and the secretary of the settlement are negotiating.
“We will continue to build and strengthen our soldiers,” the spokesperson said.
“The real reason” for the takedown “is that when there’s a question mark, the building comes down. But when it comes to Arab building that is completely illegal and without a permit in Area C [under full Israeli control], it stays up, Josh Hasten, International spokesperson for Gush Etzion, told World Israel News.
“That’s the bottom line,” he said. “When it comes to Jewish structures, Defense Ministry Benny Gantz, who heads the Defense Ministry, which oversees the Civil Administration, has no problem coming in without asking questions and taking down buildings, even if it means that the soldiers serving the area will not get their hot cup of coffee or cold drink. They’re taking down a warm corner for IDF soldiers adjacent to a community in Gush Etzion instead of taking down the thousand and thousands of illegal Arab buildings. This is the reality we’re living in.”
“The real enemy in Judea and Samaria is the illegal building and massive takeover of lands by the Arabs in area C,” Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Ne’eman said in a statement. “It’s a shame that the IDF and security forces are being prevented from waging a real battle against our true enemy. Instead, we woke up this morning to another unnecessary evacuation.
“The Gush Etzion Regional Council is working to establish another pina chama for our soldiers in an alternate location, so we can show our troops our appreciation and love, and say ‘thank you’ for their dedication.”
World Israel News asked the Ministry of Defense for comment but received no response to date.