Road-Blocking Organizers: Beware of Gov´t Provocateurs

Oil and nails were spilled onto the right lane of the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv Highway Wednesday morning in an act that anti-disengagement activists suspect is a provocation by the government.

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No injuries were reported, but long traffic jams resulted near the town of Kfar Chabad, where the nails and oil were deposited on the road. Police reported that twenty vehicles sustained flat tires, adding it was fortunate that no accidents or injuries resulted.

“We do not put oil and nails on the roads and whomever does such a thing is a provocateur,” said a statement by the "Bayit Leumi" anti-expulsion civil disobedience organization. “Anyone who witnesses or knows of such acts that endanger the public is requested to inform the police. Sharon and the left are looking for pretexts and the smell of 'Champagne' is in the air." Champagne was the code-name of GSS-provocateur Avishai Raviv who carried out acts to delegitimize the right-wing during the first half of the 90's.

"It is highly likely," stated Bayit Leumi, "that provocateurs will attempt to create violence during today’s roadblockings as well, and one who tries to do so should be removed from the area by activists.”

Bayit Leumi (“National Home”) has come to be identified with all road blockings due to the organization’s successful “dry-run” on May 17th, in which 40 intersections and main highways were blocked for at least an hour. They originally said that their next mass protest act would begin the day Gush Katif or northern Samaria is closed off, but have lent their de-facto support to today’s nationwide roadblocking as well.

"Thousands of policemen," according to a senior police commander, are out in full force today to try to prevent this afternoon's planned massive nationwide road-blocking campaign. The police denied reports in this morning's newspapers that they had called upon the public to stay home this afternoon. Police officials said they would act with "full force" to foil the plans to block traffic. Tension was in the air all day in anticipation of this afternoon's events.

"We have already won," said the organizers, "because the police themselves are so tied up with preventing our activity that they have blocked some of the roads themselves." They emphasized that the goal was not to interfere with citizens' daily routines, but to show that the disengagement was such an immoral and undemocratic act that "we will not let it happen."

At the last convention of the movement, organizers repeatedly stressed the importance not only of non-violence – to the point of tying one’s own hands while blocking the road - but explicitly forbade the use of burning tires to bring traffic to a halt.

“Having people sitting peacefully in the middle of the road is enough to bring traffic to a halt,” said Moshe Feiglin, who headed the Zo Artzeinu civil disobedience movement during the Oslo era. “There is no need for burning tires or anything like that – it only complicates matters legally.”

Aviad Visouly of the Land of Israel Task Force told Voice of Israel radio that the movement “condemns the [oil and nails] act, and we have been extremely explicit in our calls for completely non-violent civil disobedience. This is nothing more than a provocation of the type the government produced using Avishai Raviv."

The interviewer asked Visouly if blocking roads in general was not a provocation.

“When thousands of people come out of their homes to stand in the roads and accept the punishment of jail and the inevitable beatings of Sharon’s police, in order to prevent the expulsion of people from their homes, that is anything but a provocation,” Visouly said. “It is waking up the country.”

“But it is a violent act,” said the interviewer.

“Throwing 9,000 people out of their homes so that he can escape a criminal indictment is also a violent act,” Aviad replied, referring to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “What we are doing is non-violent civil disobedience.”

Journalists received pager messages from persons claiming responsibility for spreading oil and nails on the road, stating they are affiliated with the Chabad Hassidic sect. Chabad spokesman Rabbi Menachem Brod, however, categorically denied this, telling Army Radio that Chabad-Lubavitch oppose such actions. The rabbi stressed that while Chabad opposes the disengagement plan, the Chabad Rabbinical Council has come out clearly against the use of any violence to stop the expulsion.

Interior Minister Ofir Pines-Paz (Labor) accused the anti-expulsion protestors of "attempted murder." “To put ninjas [the army's term for bent nails intended to puncture tires on a road –ed.] on Highway #1 is nothing less than attempted murder,” Pines-Paz said, not even bothering to entertain the possibility that the guilty party might not be from among the anti-expulsion forces. “We must find these people and prosecute them in the harshest and firmest possible manner. Those who block roads need to be careful because we will deal with them very harshly as well, including any rabbi who sends his students to do so or visits them in jail. He will also find himself in serious trouble.”

MK Michael Eitan (Likud) also released a statement saying the act was the equivalent of terrorism. “Placing nails on the highway and running away is a cowardly act and in no way qualifies as a legitimate act of protest," he said, "but compares more to an act of terror."

Gush Katif leaders also condemned the act.

An unsigned editorial on the Walla Hebrew news site today calls on "large groups of people go to the Ayalon highway [in Tel Aviv] with heavy chains…or just plain fists" to assault road block protestors. The article also suggests throwing gasoline on anti-evacuation demonstrators and taking screwdrivers to "fix" their windows and headlights. Readers are advised to say, if police question them, that they thought they saw a baby locked in the car.

Other ideas from Walla include making the protestors look suspicious by embracing them as if they are close friends and then yelling, "How're you doing, Yossi? I didn't know you left the Shabak (General Security Service)!"

Knesset Member Aryeh Eldad (National Union) appealed to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz to arrest the Walla writer on charges of incitement to murder.



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