Samaria Mayor: Our Case Against Destruction is Just
With less than a month to go, residents of Eli in the Shomron (Samaria) hope the Supreme Court will decide not to allow the destruction of the homes of fallen war heroes Ro'i Klein and Eliraz Peretz.
The Supreme Court demanded that the State provide a report on the situation regarding the homes following a petition brought by the radical Peace Now organization. Peace Now demanded that the small neighborhood in Eli be razed because it is "illegal" in that the homes are located on private Arab land; the residents and township say such claims are nonsense.
Among the 24 families living in the HaYovel neighborhood are the widows and small children of Ro'i Klein and Eliraz Peretz, both of whom were killed in clashes with the enemy while serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Klein was killed in the summer of 2006, during the Second Lebanon War. While fighting for control of the hostile village of Bint Jbil in southern Lebanon, Maj. Klein and his men were ambushed by Hizbullah terrorists. At one point, Klein began treating one of his wounded comrades, at which point a terrorist hurled a grenade at the group. Ro'i yelled out "Shma Yisrael" and jumped upon the grenade, absorbing the brunt of the explosion, saving the men around him, and breathing his last a few seconds later.
Peretz was killed less than two weeks ago in a clash with Moslem Arab terrorists in Gaza.
The mayor of Eli, Kobi Eliraz, told Arutz-7 on Wednesday that, based on the facts alone, he expects the Supreme Court to reconsider the scheduled destruction. "The homes of the Peretz and Klein families, just like the others in the neighborhood, are located on land owned by the State of Israel," Eliraz said.
"No Palestinians Other Than Peace Now Claim This Land"
"This is nothing more than a political petition," he added, "and we are certain that we are in the right. The homes are on state-owned lands, and there is not one Palestinian, aside from Peace Now, who claims these lands as his own."
"The Peace Now petition is based solely on the findings of the Talia Sasson report of 2005," Eliraz said, "which is a report with no validity at all." Sasson, long known for her left-wing views – she ran for Knesset on the Meretz party list in 2009 – was asked by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to prepare a report on the "illegal outposts in Judea and Samaria." Often cited as being one-sided and biased, her report claimed that despite instrumental aid provided by the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Housing and Construction and the World Zionist Organization, the outposts should be considered illegal.
Science Minister Rabbi Prof. Daniel Herskowitz said at a Cabinet session on the report that “if you look at the outposts, you’ll see that their classification as illegal was made by Talia Sasson, who is not exactly an objective source. Often, the only reason for an outpost’s classification as illegal is not because of the residents themselves, but because of a technical government problem, and there is truly no legal problem at all.”
Mayor: Petition is Immoral
Mayor Eliraz said that Peace Now's petition is immoral: "This neighborhood was built in the State of Israel's Jubilee year, and that's why it's called HaYovel [Jubilee]. The Klein and Peretz families are perfect examples of the type of people who live here; they sense that they are on a national mission, and they include military men, public figures and of course Torah scholars. Suddenly, someone gets up and decides that it's an illegal outpost; this is not ethical. And the fact that two of those living here fell on behalf of the State of Israel merely intensifies our feelings. We hope that in three weeks, the Supreme Court will accept the State's response on this matter, and that the homes will finally receive their final authorization."