IDF General against Expulsion

The government caused violence at the Hevron Peace House because of an "unnecessary" order to expel Jews, ex-IDF Ground Commander Ron-Tal says.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu ,

IDF solider guards Peace House activists
IDF solider guards Peace House activists
Israel News Photo: (Flash 90)

The government is to blame for violence at the Hevron Peace House because of its "unnecessary" order to expel Jews, former IDF Ground Commander Yiftah Ron-Tal told Voice of Israel government radio Wednesday morning.

Facing a torrent of cross-examination by news anchorman Yaakov Achi-Meir, the retired general said that if he were the commander in the field, he would urge Defense Minister Ehud Barak to withdraw the expulsion order.

Reacting to Achi-Meir's suggestion that the IDF has lost control, Ron-Tal told listeners, "The army has fallen into a complicated situation. We are not talking about an enemy…. There is no need to expel families - we are talking abut children and mothers. What is the hurry?"

Speaking amid constant interruptions and questions concerning the violence of Jewish youth outside the Peace House, Ron-Tal said that the situation could have been prevented had the Supreme Court not issued an expulsion order before a civil court decides on who owns the Peace House. Hevron Jews filmed the purchase of the building, but Arabs allege that the evidence was forged.

"We have to prevent the army from getting into this situation," said Ron-Tal, who was in active army service during the expulsion of Jews from the Gaza and northern Samaria regions three years ago. "We have been in this movie before."  Withdrawing the expulsion order will lead to calm, he added.

He also reminded listeners that the High Court's recent ruling did not order the expulsion, but simply said the government has the option to do so.

However, Israeli media continue to imply that the judges ordered that Jews be removed from the building.

Two journalists for Haaretz wrote Wednesday morning, "The state announced its intention to evacuate the house more than two weeks ago, following the High Court of Justice's ruling on the subject," they wrote. The article also charges that the rock throwing by Jews "could escalate to live fire." No mention was made of the J
We are not talking about an enemy…. It is not necessary to expel families - we are talking abut children and mothers. What is the hurry?
ewish youth who was wounded and is in serious condition after being struck with a rock hurled by an Arab Tuesday afternoon.

The writers accused Jewish youth of "assaulting Palestinian people and property in response to decisions by the High Court and government."

The journalists concluded, "Since the settlers' violence appears to be actually hastening the evacuation, it is likely to come very soon."

Another attempt to report that the court ordered the expulsion was made by Yaron Dekel on Voice of Israel's "It's All Talk" show in an interview with former Kedumim Mayor Daniella Weiss.

She refused to answer Dekel's attempts to make her answer a question as to whether she condones violence and responded that any blame should be expressed against the government for the order to force Jews out of the building that they say is their legal property.

The IDF has declared the Peace House a closed military zone and has established checkpoints on the highway to Kiryat Arba-Hevron to prevent activists from arriving.