HALAMISH, West Bank — Hundreds of Israelis converged on a junction outside the Halamish settlement late Saturday night, beginning the construction of a new West Bank outpost in response to Friday’s deadly terror attack.
The outpost construction was described by the settlers as a response to the brutal killings of Yosef Salomon, 70 and his two children Chaya, 46, and Elad Salomon, 36, stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in their home in Halamish on Friday night.
Security forces looked on as the activists placed a caravan on the road and blocked it off to southbound Palestinian traffic. The group also brought large tents, tables, and chairs, Halamish spokesman Ofir Steinbaum told The Times of Israel.
Steinbaum explained that the caravan had been strategically placed on the road below the settlement, blocking off the entrance that 19-year-old Palestinian terrorist Omar al-Abed used to get to Halamish Friday night. The residents have been calling for the road to be closed for months, claiming it was also utilized by arsonists who struck the community in November 2016, burning down 15 families’ homes.
בהמשך לישיבת אנשי ישע. עיר – יישוב- מאחז- ומעצה אמור נקודת התיישבות. תושבי נווה צוף הקימו נקודה בסמוך לצומת הישוב המוביל לנחליאל pic.twitter.com/DSvmG56XPp
— Elisha Ben Kimon (@elishabenkimon) July 22, 2017
The illegal outpost is to be called Yad Achi (My Brother’s Hand), and is intended to become a new neighborhood of Halamish, activists said.
While nobody is living there permanently, settlers are taking shifts spending time at the site, making sure there is a perpetual presence there. “They plan on staying as long as it takes until the road is closed and building is increased,” Steinbaum said.
The Salomon family had gathered to celebrate the birth of a grandson when 19-year-old Palestinian Omar al-Abed burst in armed with a large knife and began stabbing the family members. Yosef’s wife, Tova, 68, was seriously wounded and taken to the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem where she underwent surgery on Saturday morning and is currently recovering from her wounds.
As the caravan was placed just outside the settlement, a spokesman for the community stood outside the Salomon home and called on the government to immediately issue construction permits for Halamish.
“There are hundreds of building plans that still require approval…We are talking about state land that nobody has stolen,” said Ofir Steinbaum.
Various settler leaders arrived shortly after the Sabbath ended in a demonstration of support with the Halamish residents; among them, chairman of the Yesha Council umbrella settlement group, Avi Roeh.
“We call on the government of Israel this evening with a clear voice: strengthen (Jewish) settlement (in the West Bank). We are determined in our beliefs, despite the heavy losses, and call on the government to help us expand the settlements in the Binyamin Regional Council in particular, and in Judea and Samaria overall,” he said.
Speaking with The Times of Israel Saturday night, Salomon family neighbor and close friend Rachel Maoz said the response to the terror attack must be extensive.
“Be it the closure of the road below Neve Tzuf (another name for Halamish) from which the terrorist came or a massive increase in building here, we cannot allow the development of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria to be halted,” said Maoz, referring to the West Bank by its biblical names.
According to a statement released by the far-right Otzma Yehudit organization on Saturday night, their activists blockaded a junction just outside Nablus, preventing both the entry and exit of Palestinians.
“We will not sit quietly as Jewish blood is poured out as water. The time has come to go out into the streets and protest against this government that is being humiliated before our enemies,” said one of the group’s leaders, Tzvi Sukkot.