Once almost off the map and forgotten as part of Israel, this tiny army outpost was discovered and saved for the Jewish people by Women in Green.
Four months into the wave of Palestinian terror started in late 2015, the Israel Defense Forces has changed its operational deployment in the West Bank and is returning to positions it had abandoned in previous years.
From the beginning of 2016, the Central Command and the IDF’s construction unit prepared various positions for the soldiers’ return.
A permanent garrison had already returned to the Shdema outpost, near the Palestinian town of Beit Sahur in the Bethlehem region. During the second intifada, Shdema served as a lookout post, but in 2006 the IDF decided it was no longer needed and abandoned it. At that point, a dispute erupted over what would become of the compound: Beit Sahur wanted to turn it into a hospital, while the Women in Green organization sought to turn it into a new Jewish settlement.
The argument became moot in 2010, when the IDF redeployed in Shdema.
The position was later abandoned a second time, and about the beginning of 2013, the IDF allowed settlers to renovate the abandoned base and hold events there.
Now, the IDF is moving back to Shdema. It has expanded the compound outpost and built a fence around it, and recently a company of reservists moved in — one of several companies called up at the beginning of January 2016 to bolster the army’s forces in the West Bank.
The IDF is also setting up several new pillbox positions in the West Bank. Israeli officials recently notified their counterparts in the Palestinian Authority that the army intended to set up additional guard posts in the northern West Bank, primarily in the Nablus region.
The IDF confirmed that it plans to build several new pillboxes, including one near the place where Eitam and Naama Henkin were murdered in October 2015, not far from the settlement of Itamar.
Meanwhile, the army is also continuing its policy, begun in November 2015, of putting military checkpoints at the entrances and exits of Palestinian towns from which large numbers of assailants have come.
Some of the access roads to Seir, for instance, were blocked, forcing traffic to go through the military checkpoint erected at one of the town’s entrances.
The IDF said it decided to expand and repopulate outposts that had previously been abandoned because it needs a place to put the extra manpower it is deploying to the West Bank. In response to the upsurge in terror, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot decided to put an extra four battalions on operational duty in the West Bank in 2016, including two battalions of reservists. (Main source Gili Cohen 18/01/2016
The Women in Green site is: http://www.womeningreen.org
and a video about Shdema and related issues can be seen at: http://youtu.be/ufLvGhju84Y Half the proceeds of photograph sales from the Shdema collection goes directly to Women in Green.