MK Ya’acov Katz (National Union) said he plans to sue all of the authorities
involved in evicting settlers from the West Bank, following a Tuesday meeting of
the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee on the subject.
the meeting addressing the eviction of 12 Samaria residents from the West Bank,
Katz said he plans to bring Supreme Court justices, the State Attorney’s Office
and the Jewish Division of the Shin Bet, Israel’s security agency, to court for
violating Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
“When it becomes clear
that none other than persecution and hatred of settlers is burning inside of
you, and there is no rationale for the eviction orders, how will you defend
yourselves?” Katz asked.
During the committee meeting, right-wing MKs
complained of a double standard in law enforcement, and said settlers accused of
crimes should be brought to court, and not evicted through administrative
Committee chairman David Rotem (Israel Beiteinu) said
sarcastically: “These are right-wing people, and because they’re right-wing, and
not Arabs, they don’t deserve civil rights.”
“If someone crossed the line
or broke the law, ‘there are judges in Jerusalem,’” Katz said, quoting former
prime minister Menachem Begin’s statements following a 1970s court case on the
settlement of Beit El. “If someone did something wrong, bring them before a
court of law.”
He added, “This is an embarrassment to the State of
Israel, that Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu is using the police to do bad
things to the people of Israel.
“But of course, these are Jews, and Jews
we can hurt.”
Katz said that the government is behaving similarly to
“dark regimes that treated Jews in this terrible way” and compared the settlers’
situation to that of Jews in the Soviet Union.
Coalition chair Ze’ev
Elkin (Likud), who immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine in 1990, took offense
at the comparison.
“I was [in the Soviet Union] in relatively good times,
and I can tell you that Israel is not there yet. This is a serious enough
problem that we don’t need to use that rhetoric,” he quipped.
pointed out that the expulsions from the West Bank are carried out via
administrative orders, “and nobody has to explain anything to
“People find that their whole lives have been turned upside down,
and they weren’t given a chance to defend themselves.
They don’t even
know what they’re defending themselves from,” he explained.
for the State Attorney’s Office to give proof of a crime in court, before
carrying out evictions.
Israel Police Legal Adviser Shaul Gordon insisted
that “the legal status and enforcement are the same for Jews and non-Jews,” and
told the committee that the police has “binders overflowing with information” on
each person that is evicted.
“If there is so much information, why can’t
it be brought to the courts?” MK Michael Ben- Ari (National Union)
Rotem retorted: “They can, but then [the settlers] will be proven
innocent, and they don’t want that.”
The Israel Beiteinu MK accused the
State Attorney’s Office of basing its actions on “hearsay – one person told
another person. You need proof, not rumors.”
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz)
joined the right-wing MKs in their call to allow settlers to appear before a
court before being evicted, but said that Palestinians should have the same
“I oppose the use of administrative orders,” she said. “I think
the method is anti-democratic even when talking about right-wing people, but it
is very commonly used against Palestinians.”
Gal-on added: “We should
bring these people to justice, just like in a civilized state.
to hear exactly what these people are accused of,” Gal-on stated, in reference
to the evictees. “What I understand from the newspapers is that they are
suspected of ‘price tag’ crimes.”
Akiva Hacohen, a recently evicted
resident of Yitzhar, testified before the committee.
“I have five
children, and I own a flour mill. Not only was I asked to leave my home, but I
had to leave my business,” he said. “If I had received damages, it would have
been somewhat of a comfort.”
Rotem asked Hacohen why he was evicted, and
Hacohen responded “for security reasons.”
“What did you do?” Rotem asked,
and received the reply: “I don’t know.” Rotem tried again: “I’m sure you know
what you did wrong.”
“I grind flour and raise my children in an outpost,”
was Hacohen’s answer. “Maybe that’s considered dangerous.”