Forces crackdown on 'outpost builders'

Three Hashmonaim residents suspected of planning to erect illegal community arrested.

September 25, 2007 21:38
2 minute read.
illegal outpost 88

illegal outpost 88. (photo credit: )


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Binyamin police and the IDF detained for questioning overnight three Hashmonaim residents suspected of planning to erect an illegal outpost in the West Bank at the beginning of next week. Forces discovered equipment that was thought to be planned for use in the establishment of the outpost as well as what security officials called "propaganda material." The three refused to cooperate with their investigators and claimed that that probe was politically motivated. On Tuesday, settlement activists said that they intend to preempt the political agenda of territorial concessions by creating five new West Bank outposts during Succot. According to one of the organizers, Datya Yitzhaki, some 25 families are ready to defy security forces and establish the new communities on Sunday. Hundreds if not thousands of protesters will march with them to the sites, Yitzhaki told a press conference in Jerusalem. In the case of Givat Haeitam, the hilltop is located within the municipal boundaries of Efrat in Gush Etzion, but construction has not been authorized there. The other four sites, according to Yitzhaki, are on state land adjacent to existing settlements - Kiryat Arba near Judea, and Hashmonaim, Kedumim and Elon Moreh in Samaria. The initiative is being organized by the Eretz Yisrael Faithful, Youth for Eretz Yisrael and Action Committees of Efrat-Gush Etzion, Kiryat Arba, Hebron and Har Hebron. The move came, Rabbi Moshe Levinger said, after statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert about territorial concessions in the West Bank. It is also scheduled to occur in advance of the US-sponsored Middle East conference in Washington at which territorial concessions will be discussed. "This is our answer to [US Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice," Levinger said at the press conference. He had harsh words for both Olmert and Vice Premier Haim Ramon. Their intention to take parts of historic Israel and to rename them "Palestine," Levinger said, was one of the "most terrible acts" in Jewish history. "I want to ask Haim Ramon, 'What have we dreamed of more, Tel Aviv or Hebron?" Levinger said. Rabbi David Marcus of Efrat pledged that for every outpost the government dreamed of taking down, Jews would build others. He told The Jerusalem Post he was not discouraged by the group's failure in July to create an outpost at Givat Haeitam. Then, thousands of activists marched up to the empty hill. Security forces managed to empty the area by nightfall and prevented the nucleus of families who had hoped to live there from remaining. Marcus said activists were determined to keep attempting new settlement initiatives until they succeeded. Each was important, he added. The Givat Haeitam initiative has the support of some 20 settlement rabbis. According to Yitzhaki, the settlement drive also has the support of seven players from the Betar Jerusalem soccer team. Strikers Totu Tamuz and Amit Ben-Shushan, defenders Arik Benado, Yoav Ziv and David Amsalem, and midfielders Aviram Bruchian and Idan Tal did not plan to participate in Sunday's events, but had signed pledges of support, Yitzhaki said.

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