(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Settlers ratcheted up the rhetoric in their campaign against Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman by producing a short video warning he was ignoring the creation of a “terrorist state” along Route 1 just outside of Jerusalem.
At issue are illegal Palestinian and Beduin structures that have been built in unauthorized encampments along the main West Bank road linking Jerusalem to the Dead Sea and passing by the Jewish city of Ma’aleh Adumim and the Palestinian city of Jericho.
The video, produced by the Jerusalem Periphery Forum, drew on a 2015 campaign ad by Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party, which supported a loyalty oath to the Jewish state and stated, “Only Liberman understands Arabic.”
“Liberman promised that only he knows Arabic, but he’s oblivious to the hundreds of Palestinian terror structures on Route 1 and has therefore allowed the creation of Palestinian terror state,” the forum said.
The group’s video shows three examples of illegal encampments against which there are standing orders for demolitions that have never been executed. It ends with the phrase, “Only Liberman stammers in Arabic.”
The forum warned that the close proximity of the structures to Route 1 presents a clear danger to vehicles on the road and that the building is part of a Palestinian Authority plan to lay claim to the area.
Earlier this week, the Civil Administration told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that 60% of illegal Palestinian modular structures in Area C of the West Bank have not been demolished.
Left-wing organizations and the United Nations have argued that the construction is a direct result of the Civil Administration’s failure to issue building permits for Palestinians and Beduin in the areas where they currently live.
They have charged that the IDF is trying to expel Palestinians and Beduin from those lands.
In response to the video, Liberman’s spokesman said that since entering office the defense minister has “sped up enforcement in Judea and Samaria and, as he has done in the past, is acting to demolish illegal structures.”
Such anonymous political attacks only impede the execution of the defense minister’s policies, the spokesman said.
Settlers waged a similar campaign against former defense minster Moshe Ya’alon and supported Liberman when he became defense minister last year.