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The Fight for Jewish Presence in Holy Land

By Hillel Fendel Arutz Sheva October 30, 2005

Peace Now was prevented from protesting in Hevron today, but succeeded in forcing a decision to destroy nine buildings outside Ofrah. Jewish idealists were evacuated from some, but not all, of the areas they tried to build up this week.

Over 50 extreme left-wing protestors arrived at the seam between Kiryat Arba and Hevron Friday morning. They wished to protest the shacks erected this week by Jewish residents at the site known as Heroes Hill. The area, along Worshipers Way, was the scene of a terrorist ambush three years ago in which 12 Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed – and the outpost is a memorial to them.

Police did not permit the protestors to approach the Jewish outpost, and pushed them back towards Kiryat Arba. Several of the protestors were arrested. Eyewitness David W. said later that, in his estimation, at least one of them could be charged with attacking a policeman.

While the shacks were being put up on Wednesday by several dozen idealistic youths of the Land of Israel Youth organization, army forces took advantage of the situation to destroy the makeshift Hazon David synagogue. The temporary structure was established outside the former entrance to Kiryat Arba in mid-2001 following the terrorist murders of David Cohen and Chezi Mualem nearby.

Residents were unable to explain why the army has chosen, for the meanwhile, to “ignore” the Heroes Hill outpost. Army forces have taken action against the outpost several times in the past three years.

In the community of Amonah, just east of Ofrah in the Binyamin region, Peace Now was more successful. Defense Minister Sha’ul Mofaz has reportedly ordered the destruction of nine houses, following Peace Now’s long-running legal battle against Amonah.

Peace Now maintained that the houses were built on land registered in the name of a private Arab citizen. Though residents say this man has never shown up to claim the land, the Supreme Court accepted Peace Now’s position and ordered the razing of the buildings. The government did not contest the ruling, but said that because of “political sensitivity,” it would rather wait until after the retreat from Gaza before beginning to act against Jews in Judea and Samaria (Yesha).

Minister Mofaz’s announcement that the buildings are now to be destroyed is apparently an indication, the Yesha Council fears, that the government is ready to begin making good on its promises to destroy outposts in Yesha.

Further to the north, dozens of youths have returned to a new outpost from which they were evacuated on Thursday, near Elon Moreh. The young activists, of the newly-formed Land of Israel Youth organization, tried to make a Jewish presence there on Wednesday, but were violently evacuated late Wednesday night. Their colleagues similar attempted to build up several other sites throughout Yesha this week, but were, for the most part, evacuated by army forces.

IDF officials and others accused the youths in Elon Moreh of employing violence against the soldiers, but the youths tell a different story. Yirat, 16, one of the leaders of the settlement initiative, told Arutz-7,

“I can tell you that the army and police were shockingly violent – and then blamed us for all their violence. The police hit, took yarmulkes, threw cameras and phones out the window, and the like. They were without name tags… the boys were infuriated by this, and so they burnt two benches in the old bus onto which they loaded us. The soldiers then just dropped them off at the Ariel Junction at around 6 in the morning…

“In addition to their violence, the soldiers took a lot of our equipment from the site – such as a bicycle, three tables, projectors, chairs, etc. The girls tried to stop the bulldozer that was carrying all our equipment; I sat in front of the bulldozer, and then a male soldier grabbed me and forced me down, very painfully, onto a thorny patch. Girls were hit… Finally the bulldozer left, but we were able to rescue some of our equipment. Some girls hid and saw the soldiers coming, eating our food, and even taking private belongings…

“Early Thursday morning, many of us arrived back at the site and started rebuilding it. Very soon afterwards, we saw a lot of jeeps and army vehicles coming – some of our boys punctured the tires of four of the jeeps, and then we kept on working at the site all day, waiting for the next evacuation. While we were waiting, we had a meeting and we decided that we had made some mistakes, and that we would not puncture any more tires and the like. So we waited all night for the army to come and take us away – and nothing happened. So now we’re here, and preparing for the Sabbath. We hope that about 20-30 boys will be here for the Sabbath…”

In other Yesha news:
IDF forces thwarted a shooting attack early Thursday when they arrested two terrorists near Elon Moreh. The two had a weapon in their possession, and told interrogators they were planning a shooting attack – one of several they have carried out recently…

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