Photo Credit: Facebook
Former Samaria Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika

Former Samaria Regional Council Head Gershon Mesika on Sunday posted a fierce and raging attack on former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, in response to a particularly acerbic Ya’alon had said at a conference in Kfar Saba, blaming the Israeli government for the July 2015 arson murder of the Dawabsha family and also for the October 2015 murder of the Henkin family.

“The blood of the Dawabsha family in Duma and the Henkin family, who was murdered in a revenge attack, is on our hands,” Ya’alon said, suggesting the Netanyahu government, especially the Habayit Hayehudi coalition partner, is encouraging the erosion of respect for the law in Israel and settlers’ violence against Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

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Speaking of the July 28 court-ordered evacuation of the Darinoff Houses in Beit El near Ramallah, Samaria, Ya’alon said, “When the soldiers and police came to evacuate these houses and young people threw stones and bags of urine at them, the Education Minister (Naftali Bennett) stood on the rooftop and all he had to say was to attack the Supreme Court, we should not be surprised then that [the settlers] burn or cut down Arab olive trees, burn mosques or churches, and burn [an entire] family in Duma.”

Regarding the arson-murder case in the village of Duma, some 15 miles southeast of Shechem in Samaria, which took place July 31, 2015 (three days after the Darinoff Houses expulsion], it should be noted that then Defense Minister Ya’alon pointed an accusing finger at Jewish settlers before the fire had settled. This was followed by mass arrests of young Jews east of the green-line, who were kept in the clandestine police interrogation dungeons for as long as a month without access to a lawyer – with the blessing of the Attorney General. They were tortured – again with the AG’s and the court’s blessings, until finally all of them had to be let go, save for an eccentric young man and a minor – and yet, more than two years after the crime, the prosecution is yet to take the case to trial, largely because they are unable to match the confessions forced out of the accused and the descriptions offered by an Arab villager who says he witnessed the whole thing.

Mesika was enraged by Ya’alon’s typical assignment of guilt to his political rivals (it was Habayit Hayehudi Chairman Naftali Bennett who exposed Ya’alon’s ignorance of the Hamas terror tunnels during the 2014 Gaza War, which was coupled by his refusal to try and destroy them). Mesika’s Facebook post suggested that should guilt be assigned for the Henkins’ murder, Ya’alon is entitled to the lion’s share.

In Ya’alon’s narrative, Bennett is responsible for the murder of Eitam and Na’ama Henkin from Neria, who were shot and killed in their car, while their four terrified children looked on. Bennett told young settlers in Beit El he was against the Supreme Court’s decision to demolish their homes, which led, three days later, to an odd young settler burning down an Arab family in Duma, resulting in the highway murder of the Henkins a mere two months later. It’s a simple narrative, free from complexities and nuance, much like the former Defense Minister.

“Since the beginning of the intifada, it has been decided [by security forces] to place a checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Dagan, so that access to Elon Moreh was open to Jews only,” Mesika, who served as the municipal chief until May 2015. This decision, he argues, yielded quiet and security for local Jews.

However, “about half a year before the [Henkins’ murder], Bogey Ya’alon and the commander of the IDF central command colluded on an irresponsible step to allow the opening of the road out of consideration for the fabric of life of local Arabs – to spare them a few extra miles of driving.”

“They did it despite my pleas and warnings that the direct result of opening the road to the Arabs would lead to the murder of Jews – as turned out to be the bitter reality,” Messika stated, adding, “Unfortunately my words fell on deaf ears and the road remained open. Indeed, a few months later, the Henkin couple was murdered on that same route. A murder that could have been prevented!”

“Needless to say, since that murder the road has been closed again [to Arabs], and, surprisingly, the fabric of life of those Arabs has not been damaged,” Mesika continued.

“If Bogey is feeling guilty, it should be for the fact that he was guided by his preference of maintaining the fabric of life of Arabs over the actual lives of Jews,” Mesika wrote angrily, reminding his readers that this case is similar to the removal of roadblocks in the past throughout Judea and Samaria, which had led directly to the murder of many Jews.

“May it be God’s will that we won’t suffer more losses due to the foolishness of our leaders and commanders,” Mesika concluded.

Related story: Rebbetzin Henkin: Ya’alon’s Statement ‘Shocking’

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