update deskIsrael at War

Smotrich calls for security zones in Judea and Samaria

The minister is calling for an urgent Cabinet meeting to discuss the security situation.

Israel's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a meeting of his Religious Zionism Party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.
Israel's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich leads a meeting of his Religious Zionism Party at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Oct. 23, 2023. Photo by Oren Ben Hakoon/Flash90.

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is calling for the establishment of security zones to protect Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria from the threat of Palestinian terrorism.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on Sunday, the head of the Religious Zionism Party, who is also a minister in the Defense Ministry, demanded that they convene an urgent session of the Political-Security Cabinet to discuss the “continuing insecurity” of the residents of Judea and Samaria.

In the letter, Smotrich calls to “create wide security areas around settlements and roads, and prevent Arabs from approaching them.”

This, he argues, “Is important for at least three reasons: First, security and preventing the approach of Arabs who might use this for terrorist attacks. Second, a sense of security given the great sensitivity of the public and the recruitment of many men into the reserves, which leaves women and children alone. Third, the prevention of friction that could lead to a flare-up of the sector, which [could cause] us great international damage.”

The minister said that the issue had been discussed previously, including at the last Cabinet meeting, but that action was not taken on the matter.

“I will not allow additional blood to be spilled due to the insistence on not changing distorted perceptions and not internalizing the lessons of the Simchat Torah [Oct. 7] massacre events,” he tweeted.

Thirty-eight Palestinians—including five affiliated with Hamas—were arrested overnight Sunday in Israeli counter-terror operations across Judea and Samaria.

Since the beginning of Israel’s war with Hamas on Oct. 7, Israeli forces have arrested over 1,350 wanted Palestinians throughout Judea and Samaria, of whom 850 are affiliated with the terrorist group.

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