Daily Israel Report

IDF, Police Blocking Food and Water to Homesh

Homesh resettlers may be forcefully evicted today or tomorrow. Wallerstein: Yesha Council would have brought 10,000 to Homesh
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/27/2007, 9:15 AM

The IDF and the police are not allowing food and water to be brought into Homesh, where more than a thousand Jewish patriots have gathered, hoping to rebuild the north Samaria community, uprooted in the Disengagement of 2005.

While people are drinking water from the community's water tower, the leaders of the Homesh First action group say they have warned the police that preventing food and water from reaching the Homesh resettlers could lead to loss of life, especially among the many babies who are in the group. The police, however, responded by saying the matter was out of their hands and that the IDF was keeping them in the dark and refusing to cooperate with them.

Judging by sundry quotes appearing in the media, it appears security sources are waiting for the group on the hilltop to dwindle some more, in face of the cold and difficult conditions, and intend to evict them Tuesday or Wednesday. Three battalions of IDF troops and Border Police were reportedly on standby for the operation. "We have no interest in violence," a senior officer was quoted as saying, "but if they don't evacuate on their own then we will have to use force to remove them."

"We're not the violent ones here," retorted Boaz Haetzni, a leading organizer of Homesh First. "It's the police and the IDF - they're the ones who will set the tone," He said that even if they were expelled, the activists would return, "until all of the settlements destroyed during the disengagement are rebuilt."

The head of the Binyamin Regional Council, Pinchas Wallerstein, praised the Return to Homesh campaign Monday, calling it a success and noting that it received positive media coverage. The IDF's decision to allow the people into Homesh was "a stroke of brilliance," he said, "which neutralized much of the tension that was in the air before."

Wallerstein also said that the Homesh action was "a statement" vis a vis the Yesha Council – the group of Judea and Samaria administrators which has acted as the leadership of the movement to settle the area for decades. "There was an attempt here that basically wanted to show – 'we can offer an alternative leadership to that of the Yesha Council,' and supposedly if the Yesha Council had organized the event, nobody would have come."

"This is a kishkoosh (baloney)," said Wallerstein. "I have no doubt that if we organized it, there would be a minimum of 10,000 people."

Wallerstein announced this week that he would not be running for another term as council head, after 28 years on the job. "It's a tough decision but it's not because I've grown tired," he explained. "We started something which is a labor of generations and it is only right that there be a changing of the guard once in a while."