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IDF and Police Invited to Rectify Disengagement Misdeeds

by Ezra HaLevi Arutz Sheva March 25, 2007

( Police, IDF soldiers and even Prime Minister Ehud Olmert are being invited to atone for the mistakes of the Disengagement by lending a hand in rebuilding Homesh, one of 25 Jewish communities uprooted by former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Contrary to earlier reports, the IDF is allowing a march to Homesh, but will not allow rebuilding efforts.

Tzfat’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu issued a public call to all IDF soldiers and police officers who took part in the Disengagement to atone for their misdeeds by donating money to those expellees attempting to return and rebuild their destroyed homes.

In a letter distributed in synagogues throughout the country over the Sabbath, the rabbi requested that the money be given to the families from Homesh who will be the first to attempt to return and rebuild their homes since the forced eviction 19 months ago.

“Soldier/officer, if you took part in the expulsion and you want to atone for your actions, there is the possibility of assisting the expellees in returning to their homes,” read the message. “To donate, call 052 607 0495.”

Rabbi Eliyahu explained to Arutz-7 his reason for issuing such a call. “There are many people who took part in the expulsion because they were told that it was for the sake of all sorts of ideologies – for the sake of peace or for every other reason. Now they want to atone for their actions and there are a number of facets to atonement – one of which is the practical one.”

According to Rabbi Eliyahu, “today it has become clear to what extent the whole thing was lies and deception, and every one who had a hand in it is being harmed from Heaven. The latest of them was Hirschson, one of Kadima’s corrupt ones from Sharon’s circle.”

MK Uri Ariel (National Union-NRP) has even invited Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to join the rebuilding in Homesh by announcing publicly that he has approved the move.

“Now that we have all realized the great disaster that the unilateral withdrawals have brought upon us, and the evil nature of uprooting people has been proven, we must make a rectification as much as possible and enable the community to rebuilt,” Ariel said.

Menorah HaHazani, who lives in a trailer home just seven minutes from her destroyed home in the Samaria community of Shavei Shomron, told Arutz-7 Sunday afternoon that her bags are packed and she is ready to return home. “We are heartened by how seriously the IDF is taking this – because we are serious about returning home,” she said. “We want to turn back the clock to the day before the expulsion took place. We are also acting to prevent the next expulsion, to liberate the Jewish people from the plague of retreat in honor of the Pesach holiday. If there is a determined struggle, we will be rebuilding our homes come summertime.”

Arutz-7’s Uzi Baruch interviewed pop singer Ariel Zilber, who plans on accompanying former residents in resettling Homesh. Menora wrote a poem that Zilber has turned into an anthem about returning to Homesh and the other destroyed communities. “I thought it was a very important thing to do – to strengthen the people of Israel was my goal,” Zilber said. “I will try to reach Homesh tomorrow – we will see if I succeed in reaching it.”

Zilber’s song can be heard by clicking here.

Nadia Matar, who heads the Women in Green activist organization, told Israel National Radio’s Tamar Yonah that she is renewing the call to all the soldiers and police assigned to prevent activists from reaching Homesh Monday to refuse orders. “We are calling upon all of the soldiers and police not to take part in this,” she said. “This is the time for those soldiers and police who regret their actions during the Disengagement to correct their actions.”

Final Directives From the ‘Homesh First’ Organizers

The leadership of ‘Homesh First’, the grassroots group planning to rebuild Homesh, issued a final directive to activists ahead of the planned operation Monday.

“Our goal is to reach Homesh and begin building it without unnecessary delays,” reads the directive. “Those climbing by foot will walk from the staging areas, carrying equipment for the first 48 hours of the resettlement. Equipment: walking shoes, light-weight backpack, water, etc.”

Under the heading “Coordination and Bypasses,” the instruction sheet says: “We are moving towards Homesh by foot and by car, in large groups, in secure paths. If a roadblock is placed in our path we will bypass it… In walking, the path and the group must be maintained. Listen to the coordinators.”

IDF May Stand Down and Allow Return
According to reports late Sunday evening, the IDF has decided not to block the march to the ruins of Homesh. Activists will be reportedly be allowed to walk to the ruins of the community along specific routes secured by IDF and Border Police. The military and the organizers both told reporters that they have reached understandings to this effect.

A military source said the understandings are meant to prevent a situation in which Jews have to pass through Arab villages on their way to Homesh, and endanger themselves.

IDF sources said the army is considering allowing the protesters to spend one night in Homesh before evicting them.

Conflicting Reports

According to other reports, hundreds of IDF soldiers and hundreds more Israel Police officers will take part Monday in sealing off Homesh to Jews wishing to rebuild it. If these forces are not enough, the IDF will call in backups, according to a well placed source.

A senior IDF officer said “we do not want to hurt the soldiers’ training and the routine security operations in the district.”

Road blocks will be placed on the road from Shavei Shomeron to Homesh, near Einav and on rhe road leading from Avnei Chefetz to Sa-Nur, another Jewish community uprooted in the Disengagement.

Defense Minister Says Jews Won’t Be Allowed into Homesh

Minister of Defense Amir Peretz (Labor) said Sunday that security forces will not enable Homesh to be “taken over by right-wing activists.” Peretz added that there would be no problem finding the necessary number of police officers to carry out the task.

Anti-settlement activities will be carried out in coordinated division of labor with the Ministry for Public Safety. Peretz said “coordination between the elements will be the responsibility of the army, and the important thing is that there will not be rioting.”

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