Daily Israel Report

Calls to Stop Destruction of Community Honoring Murdered Teens

Homes for five families, built to honor the memories of three murdered Israeli teens, are in danger of demolition.
By Moshe Cohen
First Publish: 7/31/2014, 2:11 PM

Murdered (L to R): Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar, Naftali Frenkel
Murdered (L to R): Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar, Naftali Frenkel
courtesy of the families

The High Court is set to consider whether or not to order the removal of caravans near the Gush Etzion town of Tekoa that had been set up to honor the memories of murdered Israeli teens Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha'ar.

Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee MK Ze'ev Elkin appealed on Thursday to Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon not to order the demolition of the caravans.

“I demand that the Defense Minister immediately put a halt to the process of demolition of these caravans,” said Elkin, himself a resident of Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem. “Especially now, when so many residents are on the front lines fighting in Gaza, demolishing homes in Tekoa that were build on state land – and were built in memory of the three teens who were murdered by Hamas terrorists not far from the site – is a perversion of justice and common sense,” he said.

Orders to demolish the caravans, which the government considers an “illegal outpost,” were issued last week. The caravans were set up several weeks ago in response to the murder by Hamas terrorists of the three Israeli teens. Residents and legal groups are set to file a petition with the High Court to prevent the demolitions, at least temporarily. It should be noted that there are no pending cases by Palestinians claiming ownership of the site.

Police and army units arrived at the site Wednesday night to clear out the five families living in the caravans.

“I recommend that the security establishment invest its time and efforts in fighting Hamas in Gaza, and not against residents of Tekoa,” Elkin added.

Besides attempting to remove families from the Tekoa site, soldiers and police on Wednesday destroyed several structures and a stone house on a hilltop next to the central Samaria town of Kfar Tapuach – at the same time as the residents of those homes were serving in the IDF, with at least one fighting in Gaza. The hilltop in question is on state land and is not owned by Arabs, but is considered an “unauthorized outpost” by the government.

In a statement, legal rights organization Honenu said that “It is sad that during a period when Israelis are unified in backing the IDF against terrorism from Gaza and other parts of the country, the army and police would use precious resources to act against residents. The absurdity is even greater when the houses being destroyed belong to soldiers who are fighting Israel's enemies. This is not the treatment they deserve,” the group said.