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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘hilltop youth’

Showcase ‘Price Tag’ Indictments Turn Out to Be a Witch Hunt

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

A Jerusalem court has thrown out “showcase” indictments against three supposed “price tag” vandals and has hung another black cloud over the police and the office of the Attorney General, all of whom appear to be on a witch hunt.

The latest black eye for government prosecutors was dealt by Jerusalem Court Judge Avital Chen, who ruled there was no basis for charges that three youth from Samaria were planning to carry out some sort of attack  on Arab property.

The rejection of the government case came only a short time after a three-judge Jerusalem court unanimously ruled against the government’s charges of breach of public trust against Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been hounded on various charges for more than a decade.

Many rightwing leaders have charged that dozens of police arrests of supposed price tag vandals are an attempt to blame innocent people for crimes that they say are being carried out by Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents trying to make the nationalist movement look illegitimate.

Considering the increasing number and severity of price tag vandalism, the accusations against the Shin Bet sound like self-righteous paranoia.

On the other hand, leftwing activists have accused government prosecutors of purposely treating price tag vandals with soft gloves and failing to convict even one of them over the past three years. Given the proven cases of Arabs damaging their own olive orchards and then blaming Jews, it is not impossible to believe that the Palestinian Authority has ordered the “price tag” operations.

The indictments that were thrown out by the Jerusalem court are the first ones ever to be filed against supposed price tag vandals.

Three young Jewish boys were arrested in September 2011 while they were carrying tools, approximately 300 feet from a vehicle that was not theirs but in which police found bottles of gasoline. Police rejects the youth’s claims that they were using the tools for renovations on a nearby structure.

The police put one and one together and came up with what they thought was two. Government prosecutors at the office of the Attorney General also thought they had done their math and put together their first indictments that were supposed to show that they finally had the goods on price tag culprits.

The court also did its math and flunked the police and prosecutors.

Michael Ironi, a lawyer for the legal aid Honenu organization, said after the court decision, “It is a shame that the Attorney General’s office chose to conduct a trial against the defendants. From the beginning of the case the evidence seemed weak and circumstantial. The suffering caused to the defendants is also regrettable.”

Honenu attorney Rehavia Piltz, who assisted in handling the case, stated, “Even from the beginning it was obvious that much ado was being made out of nothing and now the court has confirmed. It is unfortunate that in the process leading to their exoneration the rights of innocent youths were severely injured over a long period of time.”

The chase after Lieberman and dozens of alleged price tag vandals, despite being unsuccessful, also has a price tag.

“For over two years our lives have been a nightmare,” said one of the youth who finally was exonerated.

“They kept us in remand under severe conditions and falsely accused us of serious crimes,” he added. “If we had not had a religious appearance and the police and the Attorney General’s office had not been so eager to achieve ‘accomplishments’ at the expense of tarnishing the reputation of an entire population, we would not have gone through such a difficult, tortuous legal battle over something we never did.”

Police arrested two of the youth shortly before the Rosh HaShanah holiday in 2011 and convinced the court to extend their remand on the eve of the holiday. The third youth was charged the day after the holiday.

The name of “hilltop youth” in Judea and Samaria  has been muddied with accusations that have never been backed up with indictments, until the “showcase” charges that proved to be unfounded.

Every time a nationalist looks the wrong way at the police or says a bad word about Peace Now, leftwing leaders and media scream “Rabin,”  continuing 18 years of slander against all national religious Jews, and particularly their rabbis, for the assassination of Yitzchak Rabin by Yigal Amir, who lived in metropolitan Tel Aviv and not in Judea and Samaria.

It is no secret that Shin Bet agents infiltrate into communities in Judea and Samaria to incite youth to break the law and then fall prey to being informers to save themselves from prosecution.

It is hard to believe the rightwing claims that Shin Bet agents have carried out all of the price tag attacks to undermine the nationalist movement.

But it also is hard to believe that police continue to harass youth, often with middle-of-the-night arrests, and prosecutors cannot come up with even one indictment that holds any water.

The only missing key in the puzzle is the failure of most national religious leaders to conduct a campaign in their communities and yeshivas to preach against violence and anti-Arab vandalism.

If Jews indeed are guilty of the vandalism and if the police and prosecutors cannot do a better job than they did after investing thousands of hours to nail Lieberman for nothing, something is rotten in the office of the Attorney General.

Activists Left Oz Etzion after the Shabbat Clashes

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Dozens of right-wing activists who arrived on Friday to spend Shabbat the Oz Etzion outpost, near Beit El, started to leave Saturday night. A few minutes after the end of Shabbat, the activists took their equipment and continued to the nearby outpost of Givat Assaf. Their departure was conducted under the watch of security forces.

Yesterday the activists clashed with security forces and prevented the evacuation of the Oz Zion residents. Five Border Policemen were slightly injured in the clashes. In addition, the tires of two Border Police vehicles were punctured. The evacuation attempt was launched by dozens of security personnel, including army troops, police forces, the special police force and the Border Patrol.

Some 150 youths were gathered at the outpost for a Shabbat assembly run by Rabbi Dov Lior, one of the leaders of the Jewish Home party, in what had been declared a closed military area.

A few participants have told Ynet that they “were able to activate government ministers to prevent the evacuation because of the Shabbat.”

Security forces claimed the youths threw stones at the soldiers. But the youths, for their part, complained about violence perpetrated by the police, which is why they closed the gates of nearby Givat Assaf.

The youths also reported that soldiers who entered Givat Assaf fired tear gas and used stun grenades. They also reported that Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu was slightly injured from tear gas. The security apparatus confirmed that riot control measures were being used. Israeli police is among the most violent and ruthless when it comes to “riot control measures” against right wing demonstrators.

At least one youth was arrested during the incident Friday. The Oz Zion outpost faced a number of evacuation attempts over the past year, but the residents have always returned shortly thereafter.

The political system wasted no time in launching its attack on Jewish Home and its leader, Naftali Bennett. “Bennett and extremist rabbis led people to that hill deliberately to create friction with the IDF and the state of disobeying orders,” Tzipi Livni of the Movement Headed by Tzipi Livni said in Kiryat Motzkin, where she was attending a public event.

Kadima Chairman Shaul Mofaz, whose party is expected to disappear in the coming election, responded sharply to the Oz Etzion incident, saying, “Anyone raising his hand against IDF soldiers and security forces it’s as if he raised his hand against the state of Israel, and should be imprisoned. We must treat such cases with a firm hand and not let go.”

Mofaz was Defense Minister during the Gush Katif expulsion of some 10,000 Jews from their homes in 2005.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/activists-left-oz-etzion-after-the-shabbat-clashes/2012/12/29/

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