Under U.S. Pressure, Netanyahu Cancels Aid to Har Chevron

Uri Ariel, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Uri Ariel, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has summarily canceled the government’s planned aid package to Har Chevron communities following pressure from the White House, Arutz Sheva reported on Thursday.

The decision to grant 40 million shekels ($10.4 million) to the area for infrastructure and education was made in response to recent deadly terror attacks. The allocation was supposed to be on the agenda of the Cabinet for approval on Sunday.

However, on Thursday proponents of the assistance plan received a message from Netanyahu’s office saying that it would not be forthcoming, after all.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel responded by saying that “we won’t accept a situation in which political pressures delay social and financial assistance to the residents of Yehudah and Shomron.

“During the last Cabinet meeting, the prime minister ordered that, following the recent attacks and the difficult security situation, the government would vote on supporting Har Chevron. Now it seems that, despite the agreements, the decision has been frozen and the entire issue will not be brought up in the Cabinet meeting.”

Earlier in the day, members of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee visited Kiryat Arba and Har Chevron to meet with residents about the security situation.

The IDF has lost control over some of Area C around the Chevron area, Kiryat Arba Council head Malachi Levinger told the delegation, led by Committee Chairman Avi Dichter (Likud).

“Something has to change,” Levinger insisted, during a meeting at the home of South Hebron Hills Regional Council head Yochai Damri in Otniel.

He urged the MKs to help restore security to the region. “There is an Arab population in this area that wants to live together with the Israelis here and the two populations are in contact with each other,” Levinger said.

Shira Mark, daughter of Michael Mark, Hy”d, who was murdered recently in a roadside ambush by Palestinian terrorists, told the Knesset members: “It’s time for someone up there to scream out ‘Enough!!!'”

Mark said that it scares her that she does not know “who is with us and who is against us. Those who are with us should be welcomed. But to the others we have to do something drastic.”

Mark’s brother-in-law, Rabbi Beni Kalmanzon, said his vehicle has been attacked more than 19 times over the past years as he drove home to Otniel. “Our security is eroding and it must be fixed,” he said.

Local resident David Schler said he wears a flak jacket when he drives on Route 60. Sigal Shiloh, said “we can not continue to endure one terror attack after the other.”

Among the security measures proposed at the meeting were improved lighting on the roads and better cellular coverage.