In two letters sent to the heads of West Bank settlements of: Elon Moreh, Kfar Adumim, Kedar, Kiryat Arba, Alon and Eli, the military said the personnel will be cut down due to budgetary problems.
The army said it was forced to raise the wages of civilian guards from NIS 35 per hour to NIS 40, due to difficulty recruiting new security personnel. The pay raise, however, did not have a corresponding addition of funds from the Defense Ministry, forcing the IDF to reduce the number of manned security outposts in the settlements.
Among the eight security outposts expected to be eliminated completely, is the one located in the settlement Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of Hebron, where thirteen-year-old Hallel Yaffe Ariel was stabbed to death three years ago.
The IDF admits the security cuts are problematic, saying, "It’s clear to everyone the reduction in the number of guards in not ideal, but - all things considered - it’s necessary,” said the military in one of the letters, adding there will be a comprehensive security assessment (which was not made prior to the move) following the cuts once the decision takes effect sometime in August.
“This is abandonment of human life, and the Defense Ministry must come to its senses as soon as possible," said the security officials in Kiryat Arba.
A similar statement was issued by the officials in the settlement of Eli. “The Defense Ministry’s reckless decision is going to lead to complete neglect of the community’s security."
The Kfar Adumim officials also criticized the decision, calling it “improper … and it’s impossible to replace the security provided by the Defense Ministry with an additional burden on the residents, whose security will be harmed.”