Posts Tagged ‘Beit El’
In the week leading up to the Jewish holiday of love and matchmaking — Tu B’Av — Israelis in Samaria are battling the IDF and old nightmares, returned.
Rows of rigid military police standing shoulder to shoulder with their eyes averted, massive plexiglass riot shields ready at their feet. Female Border Guard Police officers in groups of three, wearing massive equipment and huge riot helmuts gently lifting a praying, weeping woman protester who is overcome with grief as she remembers another evacuation, and thousands of other homeless Jews in Israel.
To the Beit El supporters, who included former residents of the demolish communities of Gush Katif and northern Samaria, this week’s eviction of protesters at the two Draynoff buildings felt horrendously familiar.
Hundreds of Judea and Samaria residents flocked to the aid of their fellow Jews in the community of Beit El, where Israel’s High Court on Wednesday upheld a demolition order for two half-finished apartment houses.
The destruction was to be carried out by Thursday, pre-empting the original order, scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 2. But by 12 noon Wednesday, the bulldozers had already torn out the heart of an Israeli flag painted on to the side of one of the buildings.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has already said the structures can be rebuilt since land permits were secured after their construction. But that’s not really the point.
Was the praying, weeping woman going to be homeless that day? Was the man in his prayer shawl threatened, intensely shaking his fist while beseeching the Creator to intervene? No.
But stark fear haunts nearly every resident of Judea and Samaria as they intently watch events at Beit El.
The 2005 Disengagement of Gaza began much the same way, they say, and no one is willing to repeat that massive error.
Ten years later nearly to the day, this week, there remain even now families who are still homeless, who live in “temporary” caravillas in a trailer park in Nitzan.
The government “reparation” money ran out long before Israel made good on its promise to provide them with new land to replace that which was wrested from them — in many cases, land with which they made their living as independent business owners. Meanwhile, they were forced by their banks to continue paying off mortgages on the homes that were demolished in an expulsion over which they had no choice, using the funds that had been earmarked for purchasing new homes or starting new livelihoods.
Marriages and families were crushed with the communities in that destruction. Major depressions and suicides led to lives being snuffed out along with Israel’s presence in Gaza.
Four communities in northern Samaria were destroyed as well, among them the small town of Sa-Nur.
Now former residents of that community have decided they have seen enough, and this week stated their intention to return and rebuild their town.
Some 20 families along with 200 other supporters from around the country flocked to the site two days ago, as events heated up in Beit El, and settled in for the duration; they are now working together to prepare the town for re-habitation.
The families sent a letter to the prime minister and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday, urging them to refrain from another expulsion.
“IDF soldiers are our beloved brothers, flesh of our flesh. We demand not to repeat the trauma of the expulsion, and not to force IDF soldiers to expel us again from our homes,” they wrote. “Placing the soldiers against their settler brothers is the addition of sin to a crime. Even if the government wants to expel Jews from their homes and their land, that should be done by police officers, and not by soldiers and Border Patrol soldiers who give the best of their years for the security of Israel.”
The tensions could tear apart the fragile 61-member coalition cobbled together by Likud Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
It has certainly re-traumatized thousands of Israeli Jews who desperately trying to rebuild their lives productively in Samaria — one of the most beautiful areas of the Land of Israel.
Residents of Judea and Samaria have set up a tent city to protest the anticipated building demolitions set to take place in the Jewish community of Beit El, and the de facto building freeze they say is being exerted over the entire area.
The issues could threaten an already fragile government coalition.
Early Tuesday morning, Border Guard Police officers evicted protesters from two half-built apartment buildings that once completed were to have 24 housing units. At least 50 arrests were made in the wee hours before dawn, with some protesters being dragged away.
The Draynoff Buildings, as they are called, had already received the necessary permits from the Civil Administration and the Beit El Council, but were facing demolition orders from Israel’s High Court of Justice because their initial construction began without permits.
“Our stance with regard to the Beit El homes is clear,” said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in a statement during the day. “We oppose their demolition and we are working through legal means to prevent this.”
Nevertheless, as the matter stands now, the area around the buildings has been declared a closed military zone until August 2, and Border Guard Police officers have moved into the buildings in order to prevent Beit El residents from doing so and regaining control.
By nightfall Tuesday, residents of Judea and Samaria had set up a tent city near the community in solidarity with the Beit El residents.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked was expected to eventually visit the site. Her party chairman and Israel’s Education Minister, Bayit Yehudi leader Naftali Bennett, who spent time at the site, condemned the court’s decision to demolish the buildings and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s decision to send in the troops.
Minister of Immigrant Absorption and Jerusalem Affairs MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) agreed, pointing out that not long ago Netanyahu had vowed to build 300 new homes in Beit El. “This is the time to build, and not destroy,” he said.
MK Oren Hazen and numerous other Knesset members and politicians met for most of the day with community leaders in Beit El.
“This is exactly the reason we did not join the government,” commented Yisrael Beytenu chairman and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman.
“Already during coalition talks Prime Minister Netanyahu did not agree to our conditions that he commit to building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. I therefore call upon Minister Bennett and all of Bayit Yehudi to join me and Yisrael Beytenu in the Opposition – so that afterwards we can establish a true nationalist government that engages in building and not in destroying.”
Given the deep and bitter disappointment exhibited Tuesday by Bayit Yehudi party members, colleague MK Moti Yogev warned the prime minister’s slim coalition of 61 could indeed be facing a real crisis over the issue.
Commented party colleague MK Nissan Slomiansky, chairman of the Knesset Constitution and Law committee: “I find the timing of the eviction puzzling, given the fact that the buildings are being authorized.”
And as Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi) told reporters with ire: “On the day marking a decade since the Disengagement, the defense minister decides to send security forces, under the cover of darkness, to Beit El.
“All of this, despite what he promised me, and despite what I then passed along to the residents of the place.”
The Women in Green organization reacted furiously to Tuesday morning’s violent expulsion of hundreds of people who encamped in two Beit El buildings slated for demolition and charged the government with a anti-Jew and pro-Arab policy.
The group stated:
Hundreds of thousands of illegal Arab buildings are erected throughout the Land of Israel. The Israel Police does not come near them, fearing that this would ‘ignite the entire Middle East,’ but against the wonderful Jewish youth, who are about to enlist into all of the elite units in the IDF they use clubs, pepper spray, kicks and arrests.
Why are the Arab women on the Temple Mount still wailing and screaming freely? Why does the law work only in favor of the Arabs?
The answer is that our leaders have still not resolved in their own minds the basic question of to whom the Land of Israel belongs.
The Women in Green called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu “to show the same strength that you displayed against the expansion of Iran in Judea and Samaria and then your work will be complete.”
The government “celebrated” the 10th anniversary of the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and four Shomron communities early Tuesday morning by staging a pre-emptive sweep on hundreds of protesters who had barred themselves up in two buildings slated for demolition Thursday.
The High Court has ordered the destruction of the “Dreinoff” housing project, named after their developer, after accepting Arab and leftists’ petitions that they were erected without permits.
The court’s decision overruled the Civil Administration’s retroactive approval of the building project.
Tuesday morning’s clash was a duplicate of the expulsion 10 years and two days ago and again a year later in Amona.
Black-clad police along with Border Police used riot dispersing methods, including pepper spray, to easily but violently overcome the protesters, mostly youth, and took over the building.
More than 50 demonstrators were detained.
The military explained:
In accordance with the High Court of Justice ruling and with the goal of preparing for the evacuation and demolition of the skeleton of the ‘ Dreinoff ‘ buildings in the community of Beit El, the decision was made to deploy a Border Police force in the complex earlier this morning.
In order to prevent [settlers] from barricading themselves in the buildings and thus reduce the tension and violence in the area so as to enable the demolition to proceed as planned, a Border Police force was placed in the building.
Knesset Member Moti Yogev, whose arm was broken in the brutal police violence at Amona nine years ago, warned that the “if the Dreinoff buildings will be demolished, the court will remain in Israel but it is not certain that there will be a government,” meaning that he might urge the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party to tear down the coalition.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel also warned that the government is in danger and accused Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon of breaking his promise the day before that police would not pounce on the protesters.
“Been there, done that.”
The same promise was made by then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak several years ago hours before he ordered the police to violently remove Jews from a building in Hebron. Eventually, the courts accepted appeals from Jews that the building was legally purchased
The Beit El Regional Council is planning to appeal to the High Court this week to cancel the planned demolition.
Below are four videos and three Tazpit News Agency photos of the clashes that began before dawn Tuesday, They are more suitable for viewing on Tisha B’Av.
Construction of housing units in Judea and Samaria is about to be reinstated by the subcommittee for settlement within the Civil Administration.
Some 296 housing units are to be built on land near the Samaria Jewish community of Beit El, where two buildings were to be demolished at the end of this month – another issue to be discussed tonight (Wed. July 22) at the subcommittee hearing on the issue. A base for Border Police is currently housed on the land under consideration for the housing project.
In addition, the subcommittee will discuss the construction of 27 housing units in Beit Arye, in southwestern Samaria, as well as 381 new housing units in Givat Ze’ev and 112 new housing units in Ma’ale Adumim.
Also on the agenda are requests for approval of dozens of new housing units already completed in Psagot and 22 more in Giv’on HaChadasha, as well as development plans for the Karnei Shomron industrial zone and the expansion of the Mekor Haim Yeshiva in Gush Etzion.
The subcommittee will also be asked to review plans to convert land from an open private area to one available for use in construction of public institutions and other structures.
Residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria have been pressuring Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon over the issue of last year’s construction freeze. A letter was sent to Likud parliamentarians headed by the question: “Netanyahu is suffocating the settlements and the Likud remains silent?”
According to settler leaders, last week the prime minister said at a meeting, “We cannot develop the settlements further, but rather need to preserve what we have” – a comment the Likud later denied was said by Netanyahu.
A Palestinian Authority terrorist fired on a Magen David Adom ambulance near Beit El in Samaria Saturday night.
The ambulance sustained damage, but no one was injured.
The IDF is searching for the terrorist.
Last week, Druze in the Golan Heights ambushed an IDF ambulance that was carrying victims that were wounded in the civil war in Syria.
Attacking an ambulance is a war crime, but the United Nations is unlikely to pay any attention since it was not an Israeli Jew who attacked the vehicle.