Settlers disturb laws of property and peace
IDF fears settler violence amid Ulpana evacuation
By Yaakov Katz, JPost
Military concerned radical right-wing activists will embark on a series of so-called “price tag” attacks against Palestinians.
The IDF is concerned that settler violence will escalate throughout the West Bank ahead of the planned evacuation of the Ulpana outpost in Beit El over the coming month.
It is particularly concerned with the settlement of Yitzhar, which has seen an increase in violence in recent months between settlers and Palestinians.
As a result, the Judea and Samaria Division has beefed up the number of troops stationed in the area to prevent future acts of violence.
“The pending evacuations could lead to an increase in settler violence,” a defense official said.
The IDF fears that radical right-wing activists will embark on a series of so-called “price-tag” attacks against Palestinians in an effort to derail the government’s plans to evacuate the Ulpana as well as two other outposts – Amona and Givat Assaf.
Last week, the IDF confiscated a number of weapons from members of the Yitzhar’s settlement rapid response team following two incidents during which they opened fire at Palestinians in violation of military regulations.
In one incident, members of the Yitzhar squad opened fire in the direction of Palestinians in the village of Asira al-Qibliya, as clashes took place between settler youth and local Palestinians.
In a second incident a week later, settler youth again clashed with Palestinians as both sides set fire to fields and members of the Yitzhar team opened fire on a Palestinian youth who it said was carrying a pistol [see +972 below].
The Palestinian was shot in the stomach and several settler youths immediately ran to him, tying up his hands and beating him. IDF soldiers arrived at the scene, pushed away the youths and treated the Palestinian, whom the Palestinian Red Crescent then evacuated to a nearby hospital.
IDF soldiers said that while the Palestinian was carrying a knife, no pistol was found.
By Jpost Editorial
“If you grab too much,” says a Talmudic adage, “you risk losing it all.”
As we approach June 5, the 45th anniversary of the beginning of the Six Day War, we are reminded that the legacy of our miraculous victory carries both blessings and challenges.
Yet again the stability of a government coalition is threatened by disputes over Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. In recent weeks, the High Court ruled that the “Ulpana outpost,” a neighborhood in Beit El, must be demolished by July 1. The property rights of a Palestinian man took precedence, the court said.
In response, lawmakers from Likud, Yisrael Beytenu, Shas, National Union and Habayit Hayehudi have drafted legislation that would bypass the High Court ruling and empower the state to expropriate the Palestinian man’s land, allowing the Ulpana outpost to remain in place. The Palestinian would receive monetary compensation.
Like the dozens of MKs who have come to their defense, we cannot help but feel sympathy for the Ulpana residents. It was during Ehud Barak’s stint as prime minister in 2000 that the government built the Ulpana outpost – complete with access roads and other infrastructure – using generous economic incentives to encourage citizens to move there.
Under different circumstances, a compromise could have been reached. The most equitable solution would have been to handsomely compensate the Palestinian landowner, providing him with an alternative plot of land on which he could actually build.
But agreeing to reach such a compromise would immediately label the Palestinian a traitor in the eyes of his fellow Palestinians. Instead, he must insist on taking possession of land so close to Beit El that he will be unable to use it.
And there are, according to MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union), about 9,000 Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria who are living in a similar situation and are, therefore, facing the prospect of being evacuated like the Ulpana residents.
But retroactively “koshering” outposts like the Ulpana neighborhood is not the answer. True, in principle the government has the right to expropriate land in the State ofIsrael. But it also has an obligation to protect individual property rights.
As Barak Medina, dean of the Faculty of Law at the Hebrew University, pointed out, even inside the Green Line the state would have a hard time justifying to the Supreme Court its right to expropriate the property rights of one citizen for the benefit of another citizen.
When this expropriation is done in a discriminatory manner – against Palestinians who lack full rights under Israeli law for the benefit of Jews who enjoy these rights – it becomes even more indefensible.
Further complicating the situation is the fact that Israel has never annexed Judea and Samaria (even if it had this annexation would never be recognized internationally).
Therefore, even from the state’s perspective, the legal status of Judea and Samaria is “disputed” even if it is not considered “occupied.” That’s why consecutive governments have refrained from applying Israeli law there.
Forty-five years ago Israel not only survived certain annihilation but actually managed to win a miraculous victory. Judea and Samaria came under Israeli control.
The historic resonance and religious symbolism of places such as Shiloh, Hebron and Jericho sparked a Jewish reawakening.
Confronted by Arab nations’ refusal to reconcile themselves to Israel’s existence, peace through negotiation and territorial compromise was not an option. Under the circumstances, it was only natural that Jews would desire to return to the heart of the Jewish homeland.
Some of the most talented, best educated, most patriotic Israeli citizens established settlements in Judea and Samaria in the fast four-and-a-half decades.
And it is only natural that our lawmakers have a desire to protect the Jewish settlements. But passing the outpost law will only spark yet another conflict between the Supreme Court and the Knesset and pit liberal-minded Israelis against their more nationalist brethren.
Israel will be subjected to international condemnation and a renewed effort will be launched to delegitimize the entire settlement project.
“If you grab too much,” says a Talmudic adage, “you risk losing it all.”
Prof. Yisrael Aumann visits hunger strikers protesting Netanyahu’s plan to evacuate Ulpana, says ‘real settlement was always in Judea and Samaria, not Tel Aviv’
Itamar Fleishman, Ynet news
Professor Yisrael Aumann visited Israeli hunger strikers in Jerusalem who are protesting the decision to evacuate the Ulpana neighborhood and advised the residents not to forcefully oppose the eviction. “You need to lie on the ground and let them evacuate one by one. If there are thousands it will take them a long time,” he said.
Aumann, recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Economics, criticized the decision. He said it not only jeopardizes “the Judea and Samaria settlement but the entire country. The real Jewish settlement has always been in Judea and Samaria, not Tel Aviv and Gedera.
“It jeopardizes our entire presence here.” Aumann added that this eviction will effect generations to come.
Over the weekend, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his decision to evacuate Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood and opposed legislation circumventing the High Court of Justice on the matter. Netanyahu plans to have the houses moved and not demolished, and have 10 houses built for each one to be evacuated.
The move drew sharp criticism from rightist MKs who announced their plans to put up a bill circumventing the High Court to a Knesset vote this week.
Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party said on his Facebook page that the evacuation of the Ulpana neighborhood was “a tragedy in which good Israelis, including good Zionists, are turned out of their homes.”
Nevertheless, Lapid wrote, “this is not a debate between Right and Left… but about the rule of law. If we cling to life, the state must be able to stand before citizens and say ‘Yes, sometimes I will make decisions you don’t like.'”
IDF confirms: Settlers shot, tied up and beat Palestinian near Nablus
Noam Sheizaf, +972
Last week I posted videos taken by the spokesperson of B’Tselem, Sarit Michaeli, showing a confrontation between settlers and Palestinians near the village of Urif, in the Nablus region. You can see in the videos settlers setting fire to a Palestinian olive grove, and hear gunshots. A third clip shows a wounded Palestinian being evacuated from the area (see the report and watch the videos here). At the time, Michaeli told me that local Palestinians also said that the wounded man was beaten – after he was shot – by the settlers. There was no footage backing this claim.
Tonight (Saturday) an army investigation confirmed the Palestinian account of the affair (something that doesn’t happen very often): According to the IDF, the Palestinian man was shot by the emergency squad of the settlement of Yitzhar, then tied up and beaten by a few teenagers. According to the Israeli media, the settlers claimed that the Palestinian man was armed, and that a knife was found on his person.
The emergency squad of every settlement is made up of local residents, armed with IDF guns. Their job is to help protect the settlement from attacks, but they have no legal authority and are not supposed to carry out arrests. Yitzhar’s settlers were involved in the shooting of another Palestinian, also caught on video, a week earlier. +972′s Haggai Matar posted that clip, which clearly shows that the settlers were in no danger when they shot the Palestinian man.
Following the two incidents, the army confiscated the weapons of several settlers. So far, no arrests have been made.