Girls from Gush Katif protest Disengagement
Girls from Gush Katif protest DisengagementIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Three Likud Knesset members authorized the use of force against the Jews of Gush Katif in the 2005 Expulsion (Disengagement), according to documents recently filed before the High Court by Col. (res.) Moshe Leshem.

The three are Michael Eitan, who headed the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee at the time and is now a minister; Ronny Bar-On, who is now an MK for Kadima, and Naomi Blumenthal, who is no longer a Knesset member.

Leshem's papers were filed in a response to a motion by left-wing groups against the law that pardoned anti-expulsion protesters for offenses they had been charged with. The petitioners said that the law is non-egalitarian and should also be applied to leftist demonstrators charged with illegal acts.
Attorneys for the state replied to the motion, stating that the expulsion was a unique event in the history of the state, and that in view of the heavy price paid by the expelled citizens, the unusual law should be allowed to stand.
Col. (res.) Leshem's response to the court, filed by attorneys Nadav Ha'etzni and Adi Brener, includes documents that show that the state used a large-scale program of enforcement against the expellees, and in fact discriminated against them in comparison to other protesters.
"The law does not go against the constitutional right to equality," Leshem stated. "On the contrary, it wishes to correct, if only in a partial way, the serious blow to equality that was dealt against [Leshem] and many other citizens of Israel, who opposed the step called the 'Disengagement.'"
The state's preparations for the expulsion were based on a false premise, Leshem explained, according to which the protesters planned to use serious and widespread violence. "The false warnings gave rise to harsh results," the response states.  
Discriminatory legislation against the expellees was, in part, carried out in secret. "Special patterns of enforcement" were instituted, constituting "systemic, establishmentary, overriding discrimination on a large scale." Knesset members were apprised of at least some of these measures and asked to approve them in secret.
MKs Eitan, Bar-On and Blumenthal allegedly took part in an "internal and secret" discussion as members of a limited forum within the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee, and received the right to go over the special measures that had been prepared against the expellees.  
Leshem, 67, took part in active military service for 27 years. On the day the Jewish residents of Kfar Darom were evicted, he was situated on the rooftop of the synagogue in the community. His activity consisted of waving the Israeli flag and voicing messages against the expulsion, aided by a megaphone. 
For these "offenses" he was arrested, brought before a judge along with 50 other protesters and remanded into custody along with the others for a further seven days. The 50 were remanded collectively, instead of being allowed to plead their cases individually.
After his release, Leshem was charged with acts of severe violence - again, in a collective legal move against dozens of defendants - even though the charge sheet did not specify any action other than holding the flag and speaking into a megaphone. 
The law pardoning the expulsion protesters does not contradict the principle of equality, but tries to return some of the rights that were denied to a specific group, without reducing the rights of another sector, Leshem's statement argued.