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Settlers Demand Action by Bennett over Demolition

Over 20 Samaria community leaders meet Jewish Home head; describe deception that preceded razing of Kaisler home.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/11/2014, 2:15 PM

Kaisler home in winter.
Kaisler home in winter.
Samaria Residents' Committee

A particularly cruel and vengeful action by the IDF against a Jewish family in Samaria was the focus of a stormy meeting at the Knesset Tuesday.

More than 20 heads of Jewish communities in Samaria met with Jewish Home leader, Economics Minister Naftali Bennett, and other Jewish Home ministers and MKs, at a special faction meeting whic was called following the demolition last week of the home of Sagi Kaisler, director of the grassroots Samaria Residents Committee.

The local leaders described to the ministers and MKs in detail what had happened, and explained that the destruction is a dangerous precedent because the Kaisler home had stood on “state land,” within the official borders of the community of Kida.

The status of dozens of homes on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line is similar to that of the Kaislers', warned the leaders.

The community leaders also complained bitterly that the eviction was carried out without any prior warning and without speaking to leaders of the settlement enterprise.

Many of the settlers believe that Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was misled by IDF Civil Administration officers into thinking that he was authorizing demolition of two empty caravans, and not a fully constructed family home, with a young family already living in it. The warned that the affair raises questions regarding the way the Civil Administration officers comport themselves vis-a-vis the Defense Minister, and also about the Defense Minister's governance skills.

The Kaisler house demolition was executed without prior notification to settlement establishment leaders, in an unusual move.

Min. Bennett promised that he would speak to Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon as soon as possible, in order to protest the injustice done, and to receive a clear timeline of the event as it unfolded.

MK Orit Struk said that she would be filing a parliamentary question on the matter Wednesday to the Defense Minister, and several MKs the demanded establishment of a parliamentary committee of inquiry.

Residents of the Jewish village of Kida in southern Samaria's (Shomron) Binyamin Region voiced their outrage following the demolition the home.

Civil Administration personnel, accompanied by police and IDF forces, destroyed the home of Sagi Kaisler, Director of the Shomron Residents' Committee.

Activists say the demolition was politically-motivated, as all the houses in the community – including Kaisler's – had received the relevant permits.

"Out of tens of houses in the community, the administration chose specifically to demolish Sagi's house," the Committee said in a statement. "There is no explanation for this other than to say that this was an act of revenge against Sagi, who has worked for years on behalf of the communities of Judea and Samaria."

"The demolition of the home of the Committee's Director is a 'Price Tag' act by the Minister of Defense," the statement continued, referring to the "Price Tagging" phenomenon in which radical youth commit acts of vandalism and criminal damage in acts of revenge for Arab attacks or IDF demolitions.

Activists say the demolition was politically-motivated, as all the houses in the community – including Kaisler's – had received the relevant permits.

"Out of tens of houses in the community, the administration chose specifically to demolish Sagi's house," the Committee said in a statement. "There is no explanation for this other than to say that this was an act of revenge against Sagi, who has worked for years on behalf of the communities of Judea and Samaria."

"The demolition of the home of the Committee's Director is a 'Price Tag' act by the Minister of Defense," the statement continued, referring to the "Price Tagging" phenomenon in which radical youth commit acts of vandalism and criminal damage in acts of revenge for Arab attacks or IDF demolitions.