Druze activists are emulating their Jewish counterparts in Judea and Samaria (YESH) with the establishment of outposts on state land in northern Israel.
The blatantly illegal outposts are being set up in Carmel and the Galilee by Druze activists wearing bright yellow tee shirts proclaiming “Ad Kan.” It is ironic to note that there is also an Israeli NGO called “Ad Kan” that was started in 2015 by Israeli security personnel to defend Israel’s Zionist character from internal and external anti-Israel forces.
The organizers behind the move say they will establish at least five outposts, each to be painted in one of the colors of the Druze flag, which is red, yellow, green, blue and white.
The first caravans have already been planted in the so-called “white outpost” and are in the process of being placed in the “blue outpost” as well.
Behind the Rage: Lack of Housing, the Kaminetz Law
Organizers cite the government’s lack of response to the burgeoning housing dilemma in the Druze community, where few construction permits have been approved by the government, as the reason for building the outposts, organizers told Israel’s KAN 11 News public broadcaster this week.
Many younger Druze are facing demolition orders and huge fines for illegal construction on privately owned land. In Druze society, it is not acceptable to marry without owning a home.
The 2017 Kaminetz Law, named after Deputy State Attorney Erez Kaminetz, is an amendment to Israel’s Building and Planning Law that increases the maximum sentence to three years in prison for anyone convicted of building without permits.
The law is intended to block – or at least minimize – illegal construction on Israeli territory and is aimed at illegal construction in the Arab sector, including land-grab attempts by the Palestinian Authority in Area C, which is supposed to be under total Israeli control, and the swift spread of unrecognized, illegal Bedouin villages in the Negev.
The Druze community has joined the rest of the Arab sector in fighting this law as they struggle for adequate housing in their own villages as well.
IDF Refusals Over Housing Demolitions
Last month a group of women from the Druze community announced they would not allow their sons and daughters to serve in the Israel Defense Forces, KAN 11 reported.
Druze Israelis have served in the Israeli military since the establishment of the modern state.
Women from Druze villages around the country sent a letter to Druze spiritual leader Shekh Mowafaq Tarif, saying they had decided to refrain from sending their sons to the IDF.
The move was believed to be a response to the government’s unwillingness to meet their demands to freeze demolition orders, cancel fines and approve expansion of Druze villages.
The organizers of the current outpost movement contend that what’s good for the Jews must also be good for the Druze.
They insist that a recent call by National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s encouraging Jewish activists in Judea and Samaria to “run to the hills” to establish outposts should apply to Druze Israelis as well.
The movement also has ominous undertones.
Saleh Abu Rochan, one of the leaders of the movement, warned the government against sending Israeli inspectors to dismantle the outposts. “Let them dare,” he told KAN 11.
The threat is consistent with the increasing belligerence seen in Israel’s Druze community, which is becoming more vocal – and more violent.
Violence Over Wind Turbines
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to postpone work on a Golan Heights wind farm a second time this past July over Druze objections to the project.
The ARAN Clean Wind Energy initiative involves 21 wind turbines expected to produce 104 megawatts of electricity – enough to supply 50,000 households for 20 years – at an estimated cost of NIS 700 million.
But violent protests by local Druze who claim the wind turbines were being built on farmland, forced the government to repeatedly delay the project.
Hundreds of Druze gathered in June to protest the project the first time around, chanting, “We have redeemed the Golan Heights with blood and fire.” The chants were like those of Palestinian Authority Arabs who often call to “redeem” Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount with “blood and fire” while rioting on the site.
“We are ready for war,” declared Yasser Ghadban, head of the Druze Kisra-Sumei council. “We don’t take orders from anyone, not even from [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir,” added Sheikh Mowafaq Tarif.
The second time around, in July, four police officers and 12 residents were hurt in the violence.
Construction has since resumed on the wind turbines, but negotiations have yet to produce a resolution in talks between the Prime Minister’s Office and Druze leaders.
How the government will respond to the latest “outpost movement” remains to be seen.