24 Judea, Samaria Towns Face Destruction
The IDF Central Command has warned residents of 24 Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria that they face eviction in the near future. Thousands of people who reside in the communities could find themselves homeless.
The list of communities facing demolition includes towns that were built up to 10 years ago, such as Migron and Givat Assaf. Senior members of the Ichud Leumi party were informed by IDF officials that the towns will be evicted either peaceably or by force before June 6, the date on which United States President Barack Obama plans to give a historic address to the Muslim world from Cairo.
Soldiers and police officers will be called up as early as Tuesday to prepare for the evictions.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke Monday in defense of his decision to evict Jews from unauthorized towns. "Even during the election campaign I said that we are a law-abiding country, and that we would deal with illegal outposts," he said.
"My role, first and foremost, is to secure the future of the state of Israel," he added. Israel's ties to the U.S. are very important, according to Netanyahu, as is maintaining a broad national unity.
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is planning to meet with Obama this week, and has told reporters that he will focus primarily on the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria during his meeting with the president.
Earlier on Monday, the Likud Knesset faction held a meeting to discuss the issue of unauthorized Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Most faction members expressed opposition to the eviction of the residents of those communities, and called on the government to allow construction in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein hosted Jewish leaders from Judea and Samaria in his office on Monday. Edelstein told his guests that he and fellow Likud ministers would work to get approval for the threatened Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.
Edelstein reassured the Judea and Samaria residents that Likud ministers would torpedo efforts to demolish unauthorized outposts. “I understand the Defense Minister's need to talk a certain way to his faction and his party, but it doesn't need to come at the expense of thousands of residents of towns that the government established, but for whatever reason insists on calling 'outposts,'” he said.
Ichud Leumi head Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz criticized the decision to destroy the Jewish towns, which he warned would lead to the government's downfall. “Netanyahu is continuing with the same fraud perpetrated by Sharon and Olmert,” he said, “and will bring about the collapse of his own government before it's been in power for even 100 days.”
Katz called on those who voted for the factions currently in the coalition, such as Shas, Likud and the Jewish Home, to pressure their parties to support a no-confidence measure against the government over the demolition orders. If the orders are not stopped, he warned, “Bibi's war against his own people could tear the nation apart completely.”
The U.S.-based Eretz Yisrael Committee expressed shock that Netanyahu would consider destroying Jewish communities after the destruction of Israeli communities in Gaza was following by a Hamas victory in the next elections and increased attacks on Israeli towns nearby.
"Have we already forgotten how 10,000 Jews were thrown out from their homes, shuls, schools, yeshivahs, kollelim, mikvaot and hothouses? Have we already forgotten how those areas, which were full of life and Torah, were converted into terror training centers? Have we already forgotten how Sderot was turned into a ghost town due to the non-stop rockets, that were a direct result of the 'Disengagement'?" the committee asked in a Monday night appeal.
The committee asked the public to call, fax, or email Defense Minister Ehud Barak with an appeal not to destroy Jewish communities. In addition, committee members circulated an online petition expressing opposition to a PA-led Arab state.
The communities facing destruction are, in no particular order: Havat Gilad, Chazon David, Migron, Havat Shaked, Givat Assaf, southeast Ofra, eastern Ofra, Mitzpeh Yitzhar, Yitzhar Darom, western Shalhevet, Mevo Horon, Givat Salfit, Ohel Orna, Mitzpeh Lachish, Aynot Kedem, Ashael, Givat Avigayil, Givat Haroeh, Givat Hadegel, Keidah, northern Neve Daniel, southwest Yatir, Maaleh Rechavam, Nofei Nechemia, and northern Susia.