I Don't Believe Dept. Insp. Assaf Ravid

Come on, who are they trying to fool here? The police arrest protesters all the time - usually for no crime at all. And now, a settler who presumably "pushed a police officer and turned him into a cripple" wasn't arrested on the spot? Who believes such nonsense?

Nadia Matar

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I read the Wednesday, January 19, 2005, Maariv article about the Border Police officer, Deputy-Inspector Assaf Ravid. He claims, in an article that made waves in the country, that "a settler pushed me and turned me into a cripple." I read the details and immediately understood that this is simply an additional chapter in the campaign to persecute the settler public of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Yes, that is correct: I do not believe the incredulous version of that police officer.

I do not believe that during the evacuation of a caravan in Yitzhar, "a settler pushed him and turned him into a cripple." He himself admits in the article, "I began lifting people, to enable the bulldozer to advance." In other words, Jews who tried to physically block the bulldozer's progress were sitting on the ground and he forcibly "lifted" them, to allow the bulldozer to continue. The question that Maariv did not bother to ask Ravid: after he "lifted" the people, where did he throw them? Where did he toss them down? How many people had their backs broken by the force employed by Deputy-Inspector Assaf Ravid and his men? No one is interested in this, for they are settlers, and not only that, settlers from Yitzhar. Who cares about them, anyway?

The article continues:

"'We stood on a meter and a half high terrace. I was at the edge, and I tried with all my strength to keep anyone from falling down, both soldiers and settlers.' Assaf's memory stops at this point. Even today, eight months later, he can't reconstruct those moments. 'I know only that I woke up, paralyzed, in Beilinson Hospital.' The settler who Assaf claims pushed and turned him into a cripple has not been located to this day."

Is this not ludicrous?

Come on, who are they trying to fool here? The police arrest protesters all the time - usually for no crime at all. And now, a settler who presumably "pushed a police officer and turned him into a cripple" wasn't arrested on the spot? Who believes such nonsense? It is clear to anyone who read the story that Ravid, who stood on the edge of the terrace and was busy "lifting people" forcibly and brutally, slipped and fell. Unfortunately, he fell on his back and was crippled as a result.

A sad story, we wish him a speedy recovery, but why blame the settlers? The reason is clear: in the run-up to Ariel Sharon's deportation plan, someone decided that the story should be altered a bit to suit the campaign of persecuting the settler public, in order to spread a blood libel about them, that they are "violent and dangerous." Only in this manner could Government Minister Ehud Olmert justify his call to "break the legs and chop off the hands" of settlers who would dare oppose the deportation plan.

The "alteration" and distortion of the truth by the police in order to convict demonstrators is nothing new. But when these are demonstrators from the nationalist camp, it is always the fabricated police version that is believed. As someone who has unremittingly demonstrated with Women in Green, ever since the Oslo accords (that is, for twelve years), and as someone who has personally suffered from police persecution, from police brutality and from the lies of policemen in court, I can personally attest to this.

How can I forget Mickey Levi, who in 1994 was still Deputy Commander of the Jerusalem District of the police? He brutally shoved me to the ground, even though I was in a legal and quiet protest vigil on the sidewalk near the Supreme Court, and, together with other policemen, forcibly lifted me by my arms and legs, with my back hitting the ground, and dragged me to a police car. When I filed a complaint about an illegal arrest and police brutality, a charge was filed against me of assaulting a police officer. Mickey Levi and other police officers appeared in court and unabashedly testified that I had attacked Levi. And when we finally were fortunate enough to obtain a videocassette from Channel 2 that proved, beyond any doubt, that it was Mickey Levi, specifically, who attacked me, the police retracted its accusations and dropped the case. The fact that Levi perjured himself in open court in no way interfered with his subsequent promotion.

And how can I forget the police officer Ovadiah Kalimi, who broke my ribs when I and my fellow Women in Green members attempted to conduct a legal protest vigil on the sidewalk opposite Jerusalem's International Convention Center during Bill Clinton's visit? He broke my ribs and, once again, a charge sheet was opened against me: that it was I who had attacked him.

Not to mention, of course, the community service that I have been performing, for more than a year now, and the criminal conviction and the suspended sentence I received, all because the judge decided to believe the false version of the police. I was accused of throwing cookies at an Arab vehicle; however, no Arab ever filed a complaint against me. It was actually the police, by shoving the demonstrators, who caused the cookies in my hand to fly through the air, with some apparently landing on the windshield of an Arab car. But of what importance is the truth? It is more important for the police to inform the media that "the co-chairperson of Women in Green, Nadia Matar, was arrested when she threw objects at Arab vehicles."

The police acted in the same manner after the murder by Arab killers of the Kahane couple. A group from Women in Green, protesting against the government's inaction, entered the parking lot of the Prime Minister's Office, sat on the ground and blocked the entrance to the office. The media announced that the Women in Green are causing a disturbance at the entrance to the Prime Minister's Office and that they even injured two policemen. I requested information regarding those two policemen who presumably had been injured by our actions - and only hours later did we learn that this had never happened. But the damage had already been done; the Israeli public heard on the radio that Women in Green had injured two policemen. No correction or apology was ever issued.

These are only a few examples of the lies spread by the police, aided by the media, with the clear goal of advancing their shared interest: smearing the most nonviolent population in the country, the settler public of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and their supporters, in an effort to transform them into monsters. I am certain that everyone active on behalf of Eretz Israel could add scores of similar stories.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of complaints have been filed with the Department of Internal Affairs by national camp activists against policemen who have beaten them, inflicting bruises on all parts of their bodies, shoved them, thrown them to the ground, and who knows what other brutality - with the consent of the governments since the signing of the Oslo Accords - in order to stop completely legal demonstrations. None of these episodes has ever been, or ever will be, on the front page of Maariv or of any other newspaper that toes the government line.

And now, on the eve of the "disengagement" plan, more than ever, the name of the game is "accuse and besmirch the settlers." Lies and half-truths are disseminated to the Israeli public so that it will no longer be sympathetic to the settlers. The completely fictitious story of the "attempt to steal a weapon" in Yitzhar; the story of the running over of a medical officer; the tale of Assaf Ravid, who is crippled "because of the settlers"; the fantastic story of the so-called "willingness of settlers to shoot at IDF soldiers" - all are part of a campaign of persecution and an attempt to delegitimize the settlers of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

This, of course, is infuriating, but it should encourage us. The renewed "Season" campaign conducted by the ruling leftist junta against the national camp shows the extent to which the prime minister and the band of Oslo criminals around him are panicking. They have totally lost their cool. They see that they simply cannot carry out their malicious plans. A majority of the people of Israel opposes the uprooting of settlements and the handing over of portions of the homeland to the murderous Arab enemy. Thousands of soldiers continue to sign the petition saying they will not give a hand to the patently illegal order of uprooting Jews and abandoning parts of our G-d-given land to the enemy. Tens of thousands of citizens are signing that on the fateful day, they will come and defend Gush Katif and northern Samaria with their bodies. The overwhelming majority of the settlers themselves refuse to accept compensation, and state "We will never leave Judea, Samaria and Gaza."

All that remains for Ariel Sharon is to attempt to slander the settler public of Judea, Samaria and Gaza and their supporters, with the aim of intimidating the Israeli public and convincing it that "harsh measures must be taken against the settlers, to break their bones and chop off their hands." This is what the authors of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion did when they spread lies and blood libels against the Jews, as justification for the campaign of persecution and pogroms against them.

But the majority of the people of Israel are not stupid and will not buy these stories. The majority of the people of Israel know that it is not the settlers who are violent, but those in the government offices who plan to send soldiers and police to uproot, deport, destroy, devastate, chop off hands, break bones and who knows what else. Perhaps they even plan to fire a second "holy cannon", as the Ben-Gurion-led government did in 1948, when they fired at the Altalena, and murdered 16 fellow Jews, mainly young Holocaust survivors. The Altalena carried badly needed weapons for Israel.

The Altalena massacre, brought about by the Ben-Gurion government, might have caused a civil war in 1948, had Menachem Begin not refused to retaliate. Unfortunately, today, the Sharon government is using the leftist media to make people believe that the "settlers" are planning a civil war. In this regard, it is important to remember what Eliyahu Golomb, of the Labor movement, the head of the pre-State Haganah, said in a personal conversation with Menachem Begin in Tel Aviv in 1944:

"It is not important whether we fire the first bullet in a civil war. We control the propaganda apparatus. And we will direct the writer of history. You will always be the ones who initiate the civil war." (As quoted by Yaakov Meridor in Arukah haDerekh leHerut [The Way to Freedom Is Long] [Jerusalem, 1950], and by Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Shnot Zaam, Yemei Tehilah [Years of Rage, Days of Glory], chap. 8, p. 254.)

For the information of everyone participating in the witch hunt against the national camp: all this will be of no avail to you. You will not succeed in intimidating us. You will not cause us to lose hope. You will not succeed in silencing us.

To the contrary, "But the more they were oppressed, the more they increased and spread out." (Exodus 1:12)

With God's help, we shall overcome.