An old married couple set up two black folding chairs on the sidewalk outside
the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem on Tuesday afternoon, in an effort
to prevent the demolition of the Ramat Gilad outpost in Samaria.
looked bereft as pedestrians and whizzing cars passed by.
“They want to
uproot us from the land,” Moshe Zar, 75, said as he stood with his wife, Yael,
73, and spoke with reporters.
“Uproot, uproot, uproot,” he repeated. “Why
would they do it?” By Wednesday, the scene had changed dramatically. The Zars
had erected a square gray wood and canvas tent, with a yellow sign on
“Save Ramat Gilad!” it said in large red letters. Mattresses were
stacked inside the tent.
Outside, a number of supporters sat with the
couple on folding chairs and argued about politics.
“More people have
been stopping by,” Yael said.
She and her husband plan to sit in the tent
until Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu halts any Defense Ministry plans to move
against the outpost.
They looked more like grandparents dressed for an
afternoon walk, than hardcore activists.
He wore a navy suit. A large
skullcap partially covered his gray hair and balding scalp.
Her hair was
completely tucked into a green and blue wool hat. She had put on make-up and
The Zars live in the Karnei Shomron settlement,
located just below the Ramat Gilad hilltop.
Ramat Gilad’s 10 caravan
homes stand on land that Moshe said he bought in 1983 from a
The community was founded in 2001, in memory of the Zars’
son Gilad. He was shot to death that year by a Palestinian terrorist as drove in
Samaria. Gilad’s sister Michal Shoham, her husband and their 13 children live in
In 2004, the Defense Ministry issued an evacuation order for
the outpost. When nothing happened, Peace Now included it in a petition that it
filed to the High Court of Justice against six outposts, first in 2006, and then
again in 2008, when the ministry still hadn’t acted.
The government has
pledged to take down the homes by the end of December, because it categorized
the land on which they stand as private Palestinian property.
attorney Michael Sfard said that some of the Ramat Gilad hilltop is classified
as state land.
According to the state, the homes can be relocated to that
section of the hilltop, Sfard added, although he noted that the structures would
still be unauthorized.
But the idea that the structures can be relocated
does little to comfort Moshe, who said that the caravans would not survive such
More to the point, he added, the land is his.
saying it’s private property,” he said. “It is. It is my private
It was never registered in his name because doing so would
have immediately endangered the life of the Palestinian who sold it to him, Zar
said. Similarly, he said, he is not able to offer proof of purchase.
said that he had held it for more than two decades without any complaints. This
was long enough, he noted, for Israeli law to recognize his rights to the
property, even without proof of purchase.
Last week, he turned to a
Jerusalem District Court and asked for a ruling on the land’s status.
is a veteran activist who has purchased many plots of land throughout the West
Bank. The Gilad Farm outpost is also built on his land in memory of his
In 1984, he was convicted of membership in the Jewish Underground of
the early 1980s, and sentenced to three years in prison.
“I regret those
activities,” he said. He added that he now understands that activism should be
For the last decade, he has rarely taken public
He and Yael could not help but note with irony that they staged
their protest at the same spot where St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit’s parents sat in a
protest tent until his release from the Gaza Strip in October.
Yael said their battle was for their son Gilad’s memory.
comfort since Gilad’s death, the only way to survive it, is to build on our land
in his memory,” she said.
Although their topic was serious, Moshe smiled
a lot as he spoke.
“Don’t do that,” Yael said.
“Why shouldn’t I smile,” he said and then added, “Our cause