Herzog on Amona: Protest legitimate, but not violence

Herzog says it 'hurts to leave home, but Zionism was built on redeeming stolen land.'

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Hezki Baruch,

Isaac Herzog
Isaac Herzog
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) participated in a cultural event at Habima Theater on Saturday morning.

"Lapid says he can theoretically form a coalition, and the first party he'll ask to join him is the Likud. Meaning, Bitan and Elkin and everything they represent. Because at the end of the day, Lapid is a rightist, who leads a right-wing party which hides in centrist costume," Herzog said.

"There's one thing we both agree on, and we discussed it this week: we need to dissolve the current Knesset. The submarine issue, the Regulation Law, the government workers' issue, these are all dramatic problems which justify dissolving the Knesset, and we have agreed to work accordingly, and do whatever we can to advance this goal," he said. "I still believe that in order to replace Netanyahu, we need a large, wide bloc of parties, movements, and public figures from the center, who will all work together. I have laid down the foundation for this, by founding the ZIonist Union with Tzipi Livni, and I hope we will see success."

Regarding Amona's upcoming expulsion, Herzog said he met some of Amona's leaders a few weeks ago.

"We're talking about good people and Israeli citizens. It really does hurt a lot to have to leave your home, but we're talking about an act of theft. Zionism was built on redeeming land, not stealing land. It really hurts me these settlers refused the solution offered to them," he said.

In fact, Amona was not stolen. Rather, the town was built on an uninhabited hilltop, and the Supreme Court did not properly investigate the case before ruling the town must be destroyed. Were the Supreme Court to have properly investigated the issue, they would have realized the Arab claimants have not brought sufficient proof of ownership.

Herzog also called on Amona's residents to "make a legitimate protest, but do not lift a hand against soldiers and policemen. Do not forget about tomorrow. Experience shows when settlers were expelled from their homes, they succeeded in establishing strong and good towns, just as the [Jewish] residents of the Gaza Strip did after the expulsion."

Interestingly enough, the 2005 Gush Katif expulsion did psychological harm to the soldiers who carried it out - a fact Herzog did not mention in his praise of the incident. In addition, 50% of Gush Katif residents were still homeless eight years after the expulsion.

He also criticized Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's promise to Amona's residents regarding the destruction of illegal Arab buildings.

"This is just cheap demagogy. It's a shame Netanyahu doesn't work to deal with poverty, the high cost of living, and the housing shortage with the same energy he's putting into Amona and incitement against different sectors of Israeli society. Carrying out a court order is important, but to incite in order to ignore Amona's reality is a trick which won't work."

About Slomiansky, Herzog said, "The relations between men and women in Israel are in a different place now, after we passed the law on harassment twenty years ago. There is zero tolerance for crimes against women. If I were in Bennett's place, I would suggest Slomiansky suspend himself. It makes no sense that the Justice Minister, who is an important female political leader, and the Jewish Home party have chosen to completely ignore the issue."

Herzog also spoke about US President-elect Donald Trump's choice of David Friedman as the US Ambassador to Israel.

"Israel does not need to involve itself in the US government's appointments, but I expect the new ambassador to recognize the fact that most of the Israeli community is not willing to annex three million Palestinians, but would rather be rid of them, and most Israelis believe the two-state solution is necessary to bring peace with the Palestinians and our neighbors. He will need to learn and recognize this fact," concluded Herzog.

Here, too, Herzog dids not mention the fact 65% of Arabs in Judea and Samaria no longer believe in the two-state solution, and support is dropping among Israeli Jews as well.








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