Israeli soldiers search a van in the village of Beit Anun in the Hebron area recently. (AP/Mahmoud Illean)

By ignoring residents’ pleas not to fund the building of a traffic circle in a dangerous location, USAID has empowered terrorists, a municipal leader charged.

Mount Hebron Council Chairman Yochai Damri issued a statement shortly after an attempted stabbing attack near the Beit Anun junction on Tuesday, claiming that United States Aid for International Development (USAID) funding is responsible for countless Palestinian terror attacks. According to Damri, USAID helped build a traffic circle in a dangerous location – notwithstanding residents’ protests against its construction – resulting in weekly attacks.

“We predicted that this would become an easy location at which to throw stones and to attack Israelis. This shows the destructive influence of money from foreign organizations and countries in Judea and Samaria. Precisely because of this attack, I support all those who seek to prevent foreign NGOs from acting here as if they were at home,” he said.

Damri’s spokesman, Assaf Passi, said in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) that this particular traffic circle has become so prone to attacks on both civilians and IDF soldiers because it was built next to “hostile Arab villages,” which served as the point of origin for many terrorists in the past few months.

As a result, according to Passi, soldiers have been permanently deployed in the area in order to prevent the frequent incidents of rocks and Molotov cocktails being thrown on Israeli vehicles slowed down by the traffic circle.

“Since that happened again and again, a permanent military presence was deployed. Now they try to attack the soldiers that are always there,” he told TPS.

Passi said that many Jewish residents of Hebron warned two years ago that the slowed traffic could lead to terror attacks. “When they were thinking of building the circle, we warned them that it was not smart to build a traffic circle like this right here. We offered other solutions that would not affect movement, but they didn’t accept them. So we see how the interference of organizations such as USAID causes deaths and injuries to our side.”

Foreign funding could have fatal consequences for Israelis, he said. “It also goes to show why we have a problem with this kind of outside interference by NGOs or other organizations. This was a case where an agency came, gave money, and produced a result that could lead to Israeli deaths.”

NGOs have recently become a focal point of controversy in Israeli politics. At the end of December, 2015, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked drafted a bill calling for greater scrutiny and transparency among Israeli NGOs, which receive significant sums of money from foreign sources and governments.

By: Moshe Butavya/TPS