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(photo credit: Israel Police)
Residents of Judea and Samaria on Sunday had harsh criticism for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and even US President Barack Obama, less than 24 hours after military orders drawn up by the Central Command to deal with potential resistance to the 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction were leaked to the country's media outlets.
Next to Hebron, in Kiryat Arba, shock and anger accompanied news of the leaked IDF document, which featured plans to use "paralyzing power" along with a wide array of security personnel to demolish illegal construction where building has continued in defiance of the freeze on construction over the Green Line.
"It's really hard to believe," said David, a Kiryat Arba shop owner who asked that his real name not be used. "You hear these things in the news, and you see the pictures on TV, but it's unbelievable that this is actually happening."
"There's illegal building that goes on across the country, and never do you hear of such heavy-handed tactics, or special police units and soldiers being called in to deal with it," he continued. "Only here, against us, is such force even spoken about."
David lamented that Kiryat Arba, like many other communities in Judea and Samaria, was being treated this way even though it was home to a large number of IDF soldiers and veterans.
"That's the craziest part," he added. "We're serving the country and we can't build homes for ourselves. I have 11 children. They're all grown up now, but every single one of them served in the army, and now they're the ones who can't find apartments.
"And if you try and tell me that Barak isn't doing this because of a personal vendetta against the settlers, than why is he doing it?" David asked.
Others were equally dismayed, and angry.
"It's like they're pushing a war onto us," said Kiryat Arba resident Yosef as he sat inside a nearby eatery. "If anyone thinks that there won't be resistance here if they try to evict us, or even to tear down a house, they're blind. How can they even think that such a thing is possible?"
He added that while he strongly disapproved of the current government, Obama was the source of the problem.
"Most of us voted for the Likud, and we do feel like the party is turning its back on us, but I think Barack Obama is the evil one here," Yosef said. "What does he care about Jews and their homes? I think he's actually happy to see us fighting one another."
Outside, two yeshiva students who said they were preparing to be drafted into the IDF told The Jerusalem Post that the current situation had presented them with a dilemma regarding their army service.
"We just hope things will change," one of them said. "It's a terrible situation right now, and while we try not to get caught up in political debates, this is very difficult issue for us."
Similar sentiments were echoed elsewhere on Sunday, including in the Binyamin region community of Dolev, where civil administration inspectors, backed by a large contingent of security personnel had arrived on Thursday to carry out monitoring work associated with the 10-month construction freeze.
"In a way, this whole situation has become bigger than politics," Dolev spokeswoman Dr. Yael Ereli told the Post. "It's like the things you believe in, the ideology and values you've lived your whole life, are slapping you in the face.
"And it raises a lot of questions," she said. "It makes you wonder, where are we going? Where is Israeli society going and where is the national-religious community going? It's all very sad."
Earlier on Sunday, the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip held an emergency meeting to discuss the leaked IDF document, which they slammed in an official statement.
"Anyone who uses military resources meant to fight terrorism against 'enemies' such as young couples who want to build their homes in Judea and Samaria, has lost his sense of judgment along with any restraint," the statement read.
Council leaders also announced that they would meet with local leaders on Monday to decide on additional steps they would take against the ongoing freeze.