Sde Boaz, a Jewish settlement founded in the summer of 2002 less than a mile north of Neve Daniel in Gush Etzion Regional Council, is one of the highest Jewish settlements in the country. In fact, according to local residents, when the rain comes down, you can see that they are sitting directly on the watershed line dividing the eastern and western slopes of the Judaean hills.
The strategic location of the hilltop, overlooking the highway junction down below, was the initial reason why the Sde Boaz founders and the Gush Etzion Council saw the settlement as a crucial enterprise. Since then, residents have been reporting, in real-time, when gangs of Arab youths would be moving towards the highway with stones and firebombs.
But the state, most prominently Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, wants this crucial outpost to be torn down and its residents of 15 years scattered. Mind you, Sde Boaz is not some isolated outpost out there – it is part of the Block of Settlements, that segment of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria which few doubt would become part of Israel should a two-state deal ever be struck.
On Tuesday, the government responded to a petition filed by the residents of Sde Boaz to the High Court of Justice, noting that the lands in question are highly likely to be state-owned, but emphasizes that the homes of Sde Boaz are illegal in any case, which is why the state intends to enforce the law and destroy them.
At the same time, the state also rejected the appeal filed by Arab petitioners, based on the fact that enforcement procedures are being conducted, and also because these are lands that most likely do not belong to the Arab petitioners.
On Monday, a letter signed by hundreds of Habayit Hayehudi activists was sent to Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, calling on them to intervene and prevent the evacuation of Sde Boaz.
“All of us, members of Habayit Hayehudi, residents of Judea and Samaria, and representatives of the party in the rest of the country, have been watching with shock the cynical moves of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman against the residents of Sde Boaz in Gush Etzion,” the letter began.
“The Defense Ministry’s proposal submitted to [the residents] in the past few days, as we understand it, is nothing more than a mockery and certainly not the right response of a right-wing national government to this issue,” the activists wrote, warning, “We must not create in Sde Boaz yet another expulsion.”
Echoing the sentiment of millions of Israeli voters, the letter continued: “It is inconceivable that the most right-wing government since the establishment of the state is once again in the process of deporting Jews and destroying a settlement, and this time without the excuse of a High Court of Justice ruling, nor even pressure of leftist elements – only because of internal political considerations and capitulation to the Civil Administration officials in their tumultuous rampage as rulers without authority.”