Ben-Dahan speaks to protesters
Ben-Dahan speaks to protestersIsrael news photo: Hezki Ezra

Dozens of local leaders from Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) were in Jerusalem on Sunday morning for a “warning bell” rally against the demolition of Israeli communities.

Protesters warned the Prime Minister, “If you harm the land of Israel it won’t be dozens of people here, it will be hundreds of thousands, and your time as Prime Minister will end immediately.”

“There are those in government who are faithful to the land of Israel,” they added. “It would be a shame for your political career to end like the careers of those who harmed the land of Israel.”

Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party stopped by the rally on his way to the weekly Cabinet meeting. Ariel expressed support for the protesters, and told them, “We will continue to build in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria, and everywhere in the land of Israel.”

He continued, “I don’t think we need to leave the government…. We agreed to a diplomatic process, but if it’s a diplomatic process that includes expelling Jews – that we will oppose.”

“This gives us another chance to say ‘no expelling Jews,’” he declared.

Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs Eli Ben-Dahan, also of the Jewish Home party, came as well. He told the crowd, “I agreed to negotiations because we don’t believe the Palestinians want peace. But the minute they start putting pressure on the Israeli government as if we’re the ones refusing peace, we need to use counter-pressure, and to show the world who is really rejecting peace.”

Ministers Naftali Bennett (head of the Jewish Home party) and Uri Orbach attended the rally as well.

Protester Gershon Mesika, head of the Samaria Regional Council, told Arutz Sheva. “We’re here to sound the warning bell and to tell Bibi, ‘You looked us in the eye before the elections and said, ‘I’ll defend the land of Israel.’ We expect you to protect the land of Israel.’”

While there have been no official reports of plans to destroy Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, residents and leaders are fearful nonetheless, he reported.

“What worries us most is what we don’t know. The ambiguity and putting everything in Tzipi Livni’s hands worries us,” he said.

“If there’s nothing to hide – why are they hiding?” Mesika asked.

In a leak to the press last week, an unnamed Palestinian Authority official claimed his side rejected an Israeli offer to deport thousands of Jews from Judea and Samaria, as it was not deemed as going far enough for the PA.