Bennett to ban ‘left-wing anarchists’ from W. Bank

In its statement on the matter, Bennett’s office specifically mentioned the group Anarchists Against the Wall, which works to support Palestinian protests against the West Bank security barrier

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Did Bennett teach Netanyahu a lesson this week?  (photo credit: ATEF SAFADI/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Defense Minister Naftali Bennett and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Did Bennett teach Netanyahu a lesson this week?
(photo credit: ATEF SAFADI/POOL VIA REUTERS)
The Israel Defense Forces can make use of administrative restraining orders to ban left-wing activists from the West Bank, according to orders issued Saturday night by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.
It marks the first time the Defense Ministry has determined that blanket injunctions can be used against left-wing activists. There has been isolated instances in which activists have been banned from specific areas of the West Bank for certain periods, such as when the left-wing group Breaking the Silence was blocked from giving tours in Hebron two years ago.
Typically, these injunctions have been a tool that the Defense Ministry has used to clamp down on far-right Jewish extremists suspected of terrorist activities, or of “price-tag” attacks against Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
“The circus is over. We will act harshly against domestic enemies that harm IDF soldiers and the country’s security,” Bennett said. He has asked the IDF Central Command, the general security establishment including the Shin Bet and the Israeli police force, to work on the matter.


In its statement Bennett’s office specifically mentioned the group Anarchists Against the Wall, which works to support Palestinian protests against the West Bank security barrier and against the IDF in B’ilin, Na’alin, Kadum and Nabi Saleh.
Bennett has asked the IDF and the Shin Bet to draft an administrative order against the most well-known member of the group, Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, who is already under arrest on suspicion of harming IDF soldiers.
MK Ofer Cassif of the Hadash Party immediately tweeted his opposition to the move.
“In response to Bennett’s false public relations statement that anti-occupation activists were acting violently, I instructed activists tonight to continue their nonviolent and just struggle,” Cassif wrote.
The Left-wing Israeli-Palestinian group Combatants for Peace accused Bennett of maneuvering to help his election campaign by harming efforts to combat “the occupation.”
It stated even if Bennett issued 100 orders against activists, Israelis and Palestinians will continue to stand together for a better future for both sides. This is the time for those “with a conscience” to join the solidarity activities that take place every week in the “occupied territories,” the group said.
Right-wing Israeli activists and settler leaders have long claimed that Palestinian protests are fueled by left-wing activists, without whom they would not occur.
Bennett’s office charged that during these protests, harm was rendered both to IDF soldiers and the security barrier.
“No one has the right to harm Israeli soldiers and the security of the country in the name of freedom of expression and the right to protest. The time has come to stop the provocation of these anarchists and act harshly against these domestic enemies,” Bennett said.
The right-wing group Im Tirzu welcomed “Bennett’s important decision,” explaining that “extreme left-wing activists from Israel and abroad” are in Judea and Samaria daily to harass IDF soldiers and to document events, so they create a campaign of delegitimization against the IDF and the State of Israel.
Ad Kan, a right-wing Israel group that has worked to alert security forces to the activities of the left-wing activists, said this was the first time that the upper echelon had come out in support of the soldiers in the field. Until now, the soldiers had been “helpless” in the face of the “riots produced by the anarchists every week.”
The expansion of the administrative restraining order to include left-wing activists is the latest in a series of steps Bennett has taken in the last two weeks to weaken the Palestinian standing in Area C of the West Bank. He created a task force to go after illegal Palestinian building and created seven new Israeli nature reserves. The left-wing Israeli-Palestinian group Combatants for Peace accused Bennett of maneuvering to help his election campaign by harming efforts to combat “the occupation.”
It stated even if Bennett issued 100 orders against activists, Israelis and Palestinians will continue to stand together for a better future for both sides. This is the time for those “with a conscience” to join the solidarity activities that take place every week in the “occupied territories,” the group said.