The planned demolition and expulsion of a Jewish community in Samaria was thwarted early Wednesday morning by a large group of area Jewish residents. After gathering a force of soldiers and demolition equipment, the Israel Defense Forces cancelled the demolition when they understood the size of the crowd that they were up against, marking another victory for Jewish pioneers defending their homes against what they believe to be an immoral government policy.
A crowd of 300 protestors gathered in the pre-dawn hours in Yad Yair, an outpost near the Jewish towns of Dolev and Talmon, to resist what they had just learned would be an attempt by Israel Defense Forces to uproot the homes of the nearby community and expel its residents.
Meanwhile, Israeli armed forces prepared to deploy a large number of soldiers as well as demolition cranes to carry out the expulsion order. According to the IDF, senior military officials had been in negotiations with the residents to leave the current location of Yad Yair and relocate elsewhere.
However, the army apparently decided in the interim that it would remove Yad Yair, despite the fact that an agreement had been reached between the IDF and the community’s leaders. When residents of nearby communities such as Nahliel, Niryah, Harsha, Dolev and Talmon heard about the demolition plans late Tuesday night, they quickly gathered at Yad Yair to show support for their neighbors.
Yad Yair was named in honor of Yair Mendelson, a Dolev resident murdered by Arabs during the first intifada.
Nadia Matar, a noted Jewish activist and founder of Women In Green, decried the attempted expulsion and commented on what she and others see as a small victory. “Sadly, instead of dealing with the Arab enemy and international anarchists from the extreme Left and Europe who are inciting the Arabs to attack Jews, this current government is persecuting the Jewish pioneers of Judea and Samaria,” said Matar.
“But thank G-d we have learned our lesson from the expulsion from Gush Katif and are not so naïve anymore. Yesterday [the army] planned an expulsion, but hundreds of activists prevented the crime of destroying Yad Yair,” she said.
Yanir Aldubi is a community spokesman from Dolev and chief secretary of the Binyamin Regional Council, and was present at the scene. He said that he was disturbed by the fact the government was preparing heavy forces to destroy the community, despite the fact that the residents of Yad Yair had already reached an agreement with the IDF, reported Haaretz Wednesday.
Akiva HaCohen, one of three Jews exiled from their homes in Samaria for trying to farm their land, said that when the army learned of the size of the crowd, commanders decided not to pursue the demolition. At that moment there were other incidents throughout Judea and Samaria that required IDF manpower, said HaCohen, a resident of Yitzhar, and the IDF decided that it could not afford to carry on the operation with the increased number of soldiers it realized it would need.
Jews “are not going to be the quiet victims anymore, but we are going to protect Israel actively against Arabs, as in Yitzhar.”
However, HaCohen notes that another factor may have thwarted the expulsion: Notably, one of the crane operators for the IDF that was supposed to conduct the demolition of the houses broke orders and refused to carry out the demolition.
Four days ago HaCohen’s hometown of Yitzhar was the scene of a stabbing of a nine-year-old boy by an unidentified Arab man from a neighboring village, who attacked the child after setting a house on fire Saturday morning. Rather than give in to the attacker, the boy fought back with enough strength to break the attacker’s knife, after which the Arab threw the child over the railing of a balcony into a ravine 12 feet below.
Although the child survived, Yitzhar residents were enraged by the absence of IDF forces at the town, which could have prevented the attack. Instead of praising the child, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert led the media campaign that denounced Yitzhar’s residents for retaliating against the attack.
Nadia Matar said that the Yitzhar incident, for which the Arab town that harbored the attacker paid dearly, showed a new resolve among the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria.
“After Amona, the new slogan should be ‘We are all Yitzhar’,” said Matar, quoting from a new bumper sticker her group has produced.
Matar cited Wednesday’s victory as proof that Jews “are not going to be the quiet victims anymore, but we are going to protect Israel actively against Arabs, as in Yitzhar.”
She added that the Jewish struggle for security was unfortunately aimed against the current government of Israel as well. “Sadly, there is a coalition between the current government and the Arab enemy.
“We hope the current government will be replaced with a normal Jewish government that protects its Jewish citizens and fights the Arab enemy.”