Hevron: Expulsion Pushed Off, Arrests Continue

The IDF/police forces in Hevron have opened the city and it is essentially no longer a closed military zone. Non-residents are permitted to enter. Brutal arrests are continuing, however.

Hillel Fendel , | updated: 12:58 PM

As of 11 AM, the barriers that had been placed around the residents' homes were removed, and the massive security presence of the past few days is dropping gradually.

However, it was reported that Mrs. Tzippy Shlissel - a mother of ten and a resident of the Jewish-owned property at the center of the current controversy (see below) - was brutally arrested this afternoon. She was later released, but her husband told Arutz-7, "She had been saying Psalms, and then a policeman came over and asked her who she was, and before she had a chance to answer, he knocked her on the ground."

An eyewitness, Rabbi Menashe Naki of Ramat Beit Shemesh, said that policemen "threw her to the ground, grabbed her hands and legs and beat her as she lay on the ground."

She was carrying her months-old baby at the time, but the police did not let her take the baby with her to the police station. Finally, a friend of hers came and took the baby, and brought the baby to its mother at the police station. Mrs. Shlissel was placed inside the narrow police van with four policemen, "totally doubled over, on the knees of one of the policemen sitting inside," Rabbi Naki said. "She did not resist arrest at all, not physically and not verbally. Slamming the door, which closed on her foot, the jeep sped away." For pictures and a video of part of the arrest, see Hebron.com .

Most of the youths who arrived in the city to help resist the expulsion of 11 Jewish families from their home in Shalhevet, just outside the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, left yesterday. The residents said they do not plan to act with violence.

"There's no question that the events of early this week were very harmful to us," said David Wilder, spokesman of the Hevron Jewish Community. "But the blame can fairly be placed on the large police and army forces that came here forcefully two weeks ago to place eviction notices on Jewish-owned homes. In any event, we have said that things got out of hand and that we did not have total control - but when we did regain control, things calmed down."

Wilder said it is understood that there is currently no immediate danger of a sudden expulsion, at least not before the middle of next week. "We have it on good authority," he said, "that everyone in the defense establishment, from the top down, does not want an expulsion. They all want a peaceful solution."

"There is in fact a truly good chance of reaching such an agreement," he added. "All that is needed is some patience and flexibility."

Some sources report that the army is waiting until after the PA election, scheduled for next Thursday.

Wilder emphasized that no judicial order has ever been handed down forcing an expulsion. "Most people don't realize this," he said, "but the fact is that the initiative to throw out the families came from Attorney General Mazuz and the government, and not from the Supreme Court. How can people be thrown out without an opportunity to have their day in court? At present, we are awaiting a decision on this very issue from the Beit Shemesh court, which will probably come today."

Wilder explained that today's court ruling is based on a suit filed by the Shlissel family. The family maintains that they were never afforded an opportunity to be heard in court, and also notes that Mrs. Shlissel's mother is the widow of Rabbi Shlomo Raanan (the late Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook's grandson), who was murdered by an Arab terrorist in Hevron in August 1998. "We moved to Hevron to be near her and to help her," the father of the family, Rabbi Yisrael Shlissel, said. "Can they throw out the family of a terrorist victim widow into the street, just like that, leaving her helpless?"

The Beit Shemesh court judge is to decide today whether he has the authority to hear the case, or, as the State claims, it must be heard only in the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, several teenage girls and others have been arrested in the past two days, and the police intend to try to have them incarcerated until the end of the proceedings against them - a matter of months. Up to 19 arrests have been reported.

In one case, 9th-grader Yiska Federman of Hevron was arrested while standing outside the Avraham Avinu synagogue, right outside her home, still wearing her school backpack. Wilder says, "The police - plainclothesmen with gray hats - just swooped down on her and took her away. I have pictures of it [above], which I will post on the Hebron.com site soon. I asked her mother what happened, and she said they want to keep her in jail until the end of proceedings - because she actually scratched a policeman while she was being dragged away!"

At least three other girls, one as young as 14, were arrested on Tuesday and charged with throwing eggs at policemen. The mother of one said, "And for this, they want to keep her in prison for months!" As of now, the judge in their case has extended their custody until Sunday.

"In addition," Wilder said, "there is a woman here with 11 children, an ambulance driver, who spent all of last night in N'vei Tirtzah Prison, with her baby. She was on her way to Kiryat Arba and she didn't stop when the policeman told her to - so they accused her of trying to run them over."