Yesha Council Meets With Police Leaders

Yesha Council leaders, meeting with the Police Minister and Commissioner last night, criticized what they called the government's "lynch" atmosphere towards the Yesha community.

, | updated: 11:25 AM

The Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) leaders blamed the government in general, and the Prime Minister's Bureau, the Justice Ministry and the Police Department in particular, for fanning the flames against them. "Every reasonable thing we say turns into incitement," they said.

Participating in the meeting were Council members Bentzy Lieberman of the Shomron, Sha'ul Goldstein of Gush Etzion, Avner Shimoni of Gush Katif, and spokesperson Emily Amrusi. They met with Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra (pictured above) and Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi.

Pinchas Wallerstein of the Binyamin region of Judea, north of Jerusalem, boycotted the meeting. He explained his move as based on Ezra's "grave words" against disengagement opponents earlier this week. Ezra said that the fault for the murderous terrorist attack in Tel Aviv this past Friday night lay with those who oppose the withdrawal plan and thus occupy the police and Border Guard and do not enable them to properly protect the city centers.

The Yesha leaders asked Minister Sneh and Commissioner Karadi to "lower the flames" of the public attack towards opponents of the disengagement plan. Ezra, for his part, said that the Yesha Council must refrain from incitement against the Prime Minister.

"The public atmosphere prevalent in the government offices," Council head Bentzy Lieberman told Ezra and Karadi, "is one of shutting mouths, putting people in jail just because they object to political policies, and spreading media myths. Everything we say is turned into incitement... You have created a situation in which every settler can be shot. Our blood is considered cheap. This is emanating from the government in a calculated manner."

Minister Ezra said, "We don't know what you are referring to. The police will not allow illegal activities."

The Yesha leaders also tried to convince Minister Ezra to support a referendum on the issue of the withdrawal/expulsion plan, but the latter remained steadfast in his alliance with Sharon and opposition to the referendum.

The two-hour meeting began with tensions and accusations, but ended with a measure of understanding and mutual commitment. "After the evacuation from Yitzhar several weeks ago," Goldstein told Arutz-7 last night, "the Prime Minister gathered the soldiers together and told them to respond with violence. Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also said something about cutting off their hands. They will not be able to claim innocence if they continue in this manner... Minister Ezra understood that if he does not rein in these elements – the media, anonymous senior officers and elements in the Prime Minister's Office – the public will feel itself trampled under this dictatorship and we will lose control."

Commissioner Karadi, as well, said that he will look into the matter of "totally irresponsible statements by police officers," Goldstein said.

Goldstein further said that Karadi and Ezra said that the police will come to the evacuation without weapons. "We also will not have weapons, of course," Goldstein said. "Even the pamphlet of Manhigut Yehudit [the Likud's "Jewish Leadership" faction headed by Moshe Feiglin], which is considered extremist, wrote that whoever comes with weapons is to be considered a provocateur. We are against violence, but the police must also make sure that their men are not violent and don't come tired and irritable and wound up like a spring. The police took upon itself to make the right decisions in this regard."

"There is an atmosphere of Saison against anyone who expressed any form of objection to Sharon's policies," the Yesha leaders said. The Saison occurred in pre-State Israel during the late 1940's when Menachem Begin's organization was persecuted by the Mapai-Haganah leadership; see .

Just two months ago, Labor MK Ephraim Sneh wrote that a civil war between Jews in Israel would not be terrible. "Even if the clash over Gaza exacts a price in blood, it will be tiny compared to the blood and victims that we will have to pay in decades of conflict with the Palestinians," Sneh wrote, adding, "A cruel and destructive civil war formed the democratic character of the United States."

Ironically, Sneh's late father Moshe, a four-time Knesset Member and member of the Israel Communist Party's Political Bureau, met with Menachem Begin in September 1944, shortly before the Saison began in earnest. Sneh the father made similar threats to Begin, saying, "If you continue your activities, a clash will result" - and he was right.