3 Shomron Jews Banned from Home

Orders banning three Shomron Jews from their homes for 3-4 months have been abruptly issued. The three have until Friday to leave.

Hillel Fendel,

The Israel police and IDF have issued orders banning three Jews from their homes in the Shomron region for three to four months.  The explanation: "Your presence in the area represents a danger to the public order."

Various press reports state that the reason for the temporary expulsion is that the three might "disturb the Arab olive harvest."   However, one of the three, Akiva HaCohen of Yitzhar, told IsraelNationalNews that this has nothing to do with the truth. "The olive harvest season begins only at the end of my four-month expulsion," he said.

The head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, said, "The police are too easy on the trigger finger."
"The issue here is not a humanitarian one for me and my family, but rather a national one. The authorities can't take it when we show solidarity with each other."

The other two newly-homeless Jews are David Libman and Meir Bretler of Adei Ad, 20 miles north of Jerusalem, though Libman has not yet been actually handed the orders, as the police do not know where he is.  The three will not be permitted to be in the Shomron for the next four months - three, in the case of Bretler - because of the unspecified dangers the police claim they present. 

HaCohen says it has nothing to do with "dangers," but rather with "solidarity." "I am of the strong opinion," he told IsraelNationalNews, "that the reason they got me is because of a pact that was recently made among the various Shomron towns called 'Mutual Responsibility,' which states that whenever the army or police come to evict Jews from a hilltop or town, the Jews of all the other towns and hilltops in the area do what they can to stop it - even if it is only by standing in an intersection and reciting Psalms or holding signs.  The General Security Service (Shabak) seems to think that I'm involved, and that's why they have given me these orders."

"Not a Personal Problem, but National"
HaCohen and his wife have three children, aged 4.5 and down.  Asked what he plans to do for the next four months and whether his family will join him, he said, "The issue here is not a humanitarian one for me and my family, but rather a national one.  The authorities' weak point is that they can't take it when we show solidarity with each other."

They have until Friday to leave home, or four more days if they file an appeal - which they do not think will be successful.  The IDF Office for Public Complaints can be faxed at 03-569-9400.

Farming Plans Down the Drain
HaCohen said that he established a hilltop community outpost near Yitzhar, not far from Shechem (Nablus), and that it now has four families.  "I'm also a farmer," he said, "and I am about to plant a grape orchard of ten dunams (2.5 acres) following the end of this Shemittah year [during which planting is not allowed by Jewish Law - ed.] a few weeks from now.  In addition, I also market flour, and if I disappear for four months, my market will be gone."

Protests by Council Head, Legal Forum, Yesha Council
Shomron Council head Mesika, apparently in response to the press reports about the olive harvest, said, "It is sad that Arab olives are more important than the lives of IDF soldiers." He then explained: "The police have not issued any such orders to left-wing activists who demonstrate in Bal'in and endanger IDF soldiers - but they are quick to do so when it comes to Arab olives."

"This is a grave blow to civil rights of Israeli citizens," Mesika said. "It only happens vis-a vis one side of the political map."                 

Itamar Ben-Gvir, an activist of the Jewish Front, bemoaned the fact that unlike in previous cases, "the three are not even allowed to remain in their homes and not leave.  They must leave their homes altogether."

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel released this statement: " If there is evidence of a crime, those suspected must be tried - but not restricted in this arbitrary manner.  This is an intolerable blow to civil rights that must be stopped. It is not rooted in any law, but is rather given solely to the arbitrary decision of the military commander [O.C. Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gad Shamni] in the area."

The Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria similarly protested the decision.