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Key Yesha Leader Boycotts ‘Farcical’ Meeting with ‘King’ Barak

Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Shomron Regional Council in Samaria, boycotted a Yesha meeting with Barak: “This is a political farce.”
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/31/2009, 4:12 PM

Israel news photo

Gershon Mesika, chairman of the Shomron Regional Council in Samaria, lashed out at a Monday afternoon meeting of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria with Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Mesika also verbally attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, accusing him of "hiding behind Barak as he kneels to American pressure [while] Ehud Barak is hiding behind weak excuses of upholding law and order.”

The unusual boycott and harsh language came on the heels of the Defense Minister’s signing of new demolition orders, this time targeting 15 families at Havat Gilad, located on privately owned Jewish land near Kedumim, and a hilltop community near Yitzhar.

"This is a political farce - the cards have been stacked ahead of this game,” Mesika asserted. “This is not about legality of the outposts. Barak's right hand has been evading proper procedure and for years has refused to sign legal building permits because of his political views, and now his left hand wishes to destroy those same communities that he calls illegal because he himself did not approve them."

Shomron Liaison Office director David HaIvri director labeled Barak as trying to be a king. “Somebody needs to tell him that we had elections, and his ilk no longer rules this country. We have had enough of the double standard; there are thousands of illegal buildings throughout the Arab sector on both sides of the Green Line, yet for some reason only Jewish homes are threatened by wrecking crews."

Mesika’s boycott coincides with a growing vocal opposition from within the coalition government of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s de facto freeze on building Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.

Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon (Likud), a former IDF Chief of Staff, raised a political storm les than two weeks ago when he, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas), Jewish Home chairman Prof. Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz and Information Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud) toured hilltop communities in the Shomron. Mesika hosted the visitors.

Minister Yaalon said during the tour, which included the destroyed town of Homesh where nationalists have maintained a presence for two years, that the government should consider re-establishing the town.

Prime Minister Netanyahu summoned him for a face-to-face meeting after the media complained about his his remark that the Peace Now movement, which is spearheading court appeals for demolishing Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, is a “virus.” The minister explained that he was referring to the ideology of Peace Now and not to the organization itself.