Daily Israel Report

Wallerstein Accuses PM Sharon

"The government wants to clash with us, and show, around the world, pictures of Jews being removed from their homes." So said this morning Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Binyamin Regional Council in southern Shomron (Samaria).
First Publish: 1/5/2004, 2:20 PM / Last Update: 1/5/2004, 3:43 PM

"The government wants to clash with us, and show, around the world, pictures of Jews being removed from their homes." So said this morning Pinchas Wallerstein, head of the Binyamin Regional Council in southern Shomron (Samaria). He said that he and the army had agreed to a compromise in the evacuation of one of the populated outposts slated for destruction, but that Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz refused to accept it. "Last week," Wallerstein said, "the army proposed a method by which we could avoid the clash. It was approved by the Chief of Staff, and we asked them to check with the government as well - but the response was no with a capital N. We could not understand why, because the proposal included taking away the buildings [and reportedly moving them to neighboring Ofrah - ed. note] - but we then realized that the reason is because they have a great interest in showing a clash with the settlers and having it shown around the world."

Wallerstein said this morning that the battle to save the outposts continues in the courts:
"We have a very good chance of winning, because in order to carry out the evacuations that they [the government] announced this week, they had to come up with a new law. I'm sure that the Supreme Court will disqualify the orders, because if we did something illegal, then why do they have to make up a new law? It's a very 'unique' law in that, for instance, it does not apply to Arabs, but only to Jews; they've created a new type of closed military zone that only applies to Jews. Also, these orders state that we have to uproot everything ourselves or else we have to pay, and we have to uproot every single sapling, and everything that is left must be destroyed, etc., etc. But this won't work. If they think that they'll be able to continue to rule this way, I hope that the upcoming giant rally next Monday night in Tel Aviv will prove that we are not just a small fringe protest group, but that there is a giant public that will - as the theme of the rally states - not allow the State of Israel to fold..."

Wallerstein revealed that in addition to the destruction of Maon Farm (seven families), Ginot Aryeh (3 families, 20 singles), Tal Binyamin (a Jewish Law institute and a synagogue), and four other unpopulated outposts, the government also plans to order the dismantling of another populated neighborhood later this week. The place is called Kidah, and is home to no fewer than 14 families.

"[Prime Minister] Sharon is so afraid of appearing to the U.S. as if he is negotiating with us," said Wallerstein, "that he's just not talking with us. He just has no strength to proudly wave the flag of the State of Israel... For instance, Tal Binyamin is an outpost that was established after the murder of Talia and Binyamin Kahane, three years ago. This was well before even the Tenet Agreement, so that it cannot even be claimed that it violates a so-called Israeli commitment not to build more outposts - yet even this location is on the list to be destroyed!"

Asked if it's not time to take genuine action to topple th government, Wallerstein said,
"I think that what I've said sufficiently clarifies what this government is up to. Unfortunately, some of our supporters in the government [from the National Religious Party and National Union] have fallen into the trap of being afraid to consider outposts as populated communities, and therefore they don't realize the utter gravity of the situation. Last night, Housing Minister Effie Eitam (NRP) and MK Yuri Stern (National Union) and other MKs were at our emergency meeting in Ginot Aryeh with hundreds of others, and I know that the things they heard were very clear..."

See an article on MK Tzvi Hendel's reaction to Prime Minister Sharon's approach.