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Samaria Residents Disagree over IDF General

Samaria Residents' Council, Women in Green, slam Yesha Council for defending Maj. Gen. Alon.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 5/8/2013, 6:16 PM

Benny Katzover
Benny Katzover
Shomron Residents’ Committee

There is discord in Judea and Samaria, between "moderate" and "hard-line" bodies, regarding relations with IDF Judea and Samaria Commander Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon.

The discord began after security forces demolished, early on Friday morning, Mitzpeh Evyatar, an outpost that had been set up in memory of Evyatar Borovsky, who was murdered in a terrorist attack last week.

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika angrily attacked Alon's decision to tear down the outpost as "cowardly."

He blamed Alon's policy of "weakness" for the fact that the terrorist encountered no IDF checkpoints on his route from his home in Tulkarm to the scene of the murder.

The Yesha Council, an unofficial group of representatives from Judea and Samaria communities, sent Alon a letter of support Tuesday. "There have been many attacks on you recently, and the Samaria Regional Council Head, Gershon Mesika, even went so far as to demand your resignation," the Yesha Council wrote.

"We disagree with attacks on you and the IDF and strenuously oppose this phenomenon… We sometimes have criticism," the Yesha Council wrote, "but we know that your door is open and that you listen to us, and that you and all of the Central Command soldiers are trying to defend the State of Israel and us, the residents of Judea and Samaria."

Benny Katzover, Head of the grassroots Samaria Residents' Council, said Wednesday that "the eviction of the Evyatar outpost during the shiva mourning days after the murder of Evyatar Borovsky crosses a red line and is a new record in the list of negative actions by Nitzan Alon vis-à-vis the Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria."

Katzover said that the Yesha Council's defense of Alon was also harmful to the settlement enterprise. He noted that even former Defense Minister Ehud Barak did not carry out similar moves. When outposts were put up in memory of the Fogel family and Rabbi Meir Chai, Barak waited until the 30 days of mourning had passed before tearing them down.

"Women in Green" also published a statement in which it "strengthens the firm stand by the people of Samaria, headed by Council Chairman Gershon Mesika, who fight for the security of the residents and for a proper response to the terror, in the form of the establishment of the community of Evyatar."

Women in Green called the demolition of the outpost "a call for the continuation of the terror." The statement protested against the act of "sticking a knife in the back" of Samaria residents by their own friends – a clear allusion to the Yesha Council.

Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, Rosh Yeshiva of Beit El and the town's rabbi, made the issue the focus of his Jerusalem Day speech.