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Esh Kodesh Vineyard Replanted After IDF Destruction

600 fruit trees planted in vineyard IDF destroyed with 'disruptive use order' last week, sparking near-lynching later in the day.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 1/17/2014, 11:32 AM

Esh Kodesh replants
Esh Kodesh replants
Shomron Residents Council
The IDF destroyed vineyards in the Samaria community of Esh Kodesh last Tuesday. This Friday, those destroyed vineyards were replanted with 600 fruit trees in honor of Tu Bishvat, the Jewish "birthday of the trees," which occurred the day before.

The 600 trees were donated by the organization Zo Artzenu (This is Our Land); MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud-Beytenu), co-founder of the group, took part in the planting.

"The purpose is to show all those fighting against the settlements that their efforts to weaken us will be answered in our restrengthened hold of the land," explained residents of Esh Kodesh.

Residents added that "the plantings also express the fundamental struggle against the 'disruptive use order' employed by the Civilian Administration to banish Jews from their land without any legal proceedings or need of evidence."

Aron Katzov, a spokesman for Esh Kodesh who made aliyah (immigrated) from the US 10 years ago, noted that as a member of the Likud party he was particularly angry at Defense Ministry Moshe Ya'alon for the destruction of his trees last week.

"For Tu Bishvat they prepared a hard surprise for us. After all, Ya'alon promised before the elections he would cancel the draconian order called 'disruptive use order,' he promised us they wouldn't destroy Jewish agriculture without an Arab claimant, and here there was no claimant," noted Katzov.

Feiglin similarly attacked Ya'alon last week over the destruction, of which the residents were not even notified about in advance.

Katzov added that the military court already ruled there is no true claimant to the land. "I have the ruling in my hands, and the judges determined the Arabs made a false claim. My daughter asked me why they destroyed our olive trees, and I didn't know what to tell her."

The spokesman argues the IDF hastened to destroy the vineyard so as to prevent him from submitting a petition.

"This grove is over 6-years-old," Katzov commented. "By law after 5 years there's a statute of limitations and it is forbidden to destroy in any case, therefore they wanted to do it quickly."

Esh Kodesh undaunted, even after near-lynching

Nevertheless, residents of the Samarian town remained positive.

Esh Kodesh resident Yehuda Handler emphasized that "we believe in the end, our determination will defeat all the obstacles, and Esh Kodesh will continue to develop in building and agriculture."

Aside from the new planting, Esh Kodesh has shown its undaunted spirit as residents recently opened a new sushi restaurant that has gained popularity throughout Samaria.

IDF destruction of the vineyard last Tuesday apparently emboldened Arab residents of nearby Kusra, as they conducted a near-lynching of 25 Jews touring the area later the same day.

Despite Arab claims that the Jews were in Kusra to commit "price tag" vandalism, Katzov revealed the Jews were nowhere near the village, confirming the testimony of an Esh Kodesh resident who was among the attacked.

"People doing 'price tag' don't go in the middle of the day, don't go about without means of defense, and don't do it in a group," argued Attorney Itamar Ben-Gvir.

MK Moshe Feiglin at the replanting Shomron Residents Council