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Samaria Residents Contest Minister's Version on Demolition

Shomron Residents' Committee responds to Defense Ministry report, as Kaisler family remembers demolished home.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 2/27/2014, 4:57 PM

Demolition of the Kaisler home
Demolition of the Kaisler home
Screenshot

The Kaisler family's new home in Kida, Samaria, was destroyed suddenly by the IDF Civil Administration in early February, in a move seen by many as an act of political vengeance by the Civil Administration. Sagi Kaisler, they charge, was targeted for being the director of the Shomron (Samaria) Residents' Committee.

While the ramifications of the destruction continue to be debated, Morag Kaisler and her children recalled their life at the home that was so abruptly taken away from them.

"You come to your house and you see loads of soldiers and policemen taking out things from the house," recounted Morag. "All the stuff you bought, that's also yours personally. Without showing you a warrant, without showing you anything.

The Shomron Residents' Council commented on the recent inquiry conducted by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, arguing the findings support their earlier accusations that the demolition was an act of vengeance by the IDF Civil Administration against Sagi Kaisler for his activities promoting the Jewish presence in the region.

While the report claimed the house was built without the proper permit, it added that there were "failings" in how the demand to demolish the home was presented to Ya'alon, even while denying those "failings" were a malicious act by the Administration.

The Council welcomed Ya'alon's recognition of the "failings," although it accused him of ignoring the political motivation behind the destruction.

"In the Minister's reaction he evades relating to this fact and to the fact that the legal status of the Kaisler home is identical to that of hundreds of Jewish homes and thousands of Arab homes in the same area," remarked the Council. 

Two other points in the report were contested by the Council. First, regarding the Civil Administration claim that violence was used against the security forces, the Council noted "if indeed something like this had happened, the police should have made arrests and punished the offender."

The second contested claim was that the house was not lived in. "This is despite the fact that the Kaisler family had lived in the house for the previous two months," said the Council.

The group added that the Kaislers "met the Minister of Defense a few days ago and showed him films proving that no violence was used against the only two policemen that were present at the house. Unfortunately, the Minister of Defense decided not to watch the films and preferred, as expected, to give automatic backing to the Civil Administration and the Ministry of Defense."

In concluding their statement, the Council demanded that Ya'alon take appropriate actions "towards the Civil Administration and especially towards its legal department which has declared war on the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria under a fictitious camouflage of upholding the law. Over a long period of time law enforcement has been selective and this makes a mockery of the respected concept of the law."