Security forces destroy three Negohot structures

Security forces destroy

Security personnel roused the Ben-David family from their beds at 1:30 a.m. on Monday, and then destroyed their small wood home on the outskirts of the Negohot settlement. They also knocked down a home that belonged to a young couple and a fresh structure where no one had moved in yet. It is the second time in a month that security forces have destroyed the Ben-David's home near Hebron as part of Defense Minister Ehud Barak's crackdown on illegal settlement construction. Security forces have vowed to destroy structures where building continued, even though their permits were suspended, as part of the 10-month moratorium on new construction. The Negohot homes, however, had no permits and were not destroyed because of the moratorium. Since coming into office, Barak has taken a harsh line on new illegal construction such as the Negohot homes. On Monday, the Women in Green-Women for Israel's Tomorrow NGO launched a campaign to raise funds to help the Ben-David family rebuild. The loss of two homes has not dented Yehudit Ben-David's determination to have a home on the hilltop where she and her husband, Natan, have planted trees and a vineyard. Building in Judea and Samaria "is the most natural of things," said Yehudit, who is a mother of six children aged 12 to one year. The government's policy to stop building is unnatural, she added. She does not hide the fact that the house lacked a permit - but not for lack of trying, she said. Twelve years ago she and her husband first moved to the small religious community of 40 families, located 2.6 km. over the Green Line in the South Hebron Hills. Two years ago they invested NIS 400,000 and finished work on a two-story, 154 square meter home that was so complete it even had a Pessah kitchen, said Yehudit. It embodied three objectives, she said. They held true to their Zionist beliefs and expanded the populated area of the settlement; they moved out of the caravan they had been living in; and by placing the home next to their vineyard they hoped to prevent Palestinian theft and vandalism on their farm land. The area was designated for construction under a master plan that never received approval from the Defense Ministry, Yehudit said. Initially, she tried to get a permit for a home on the site and submitted a plan to the ministry for approval. When no permit was forthcoming she and Natan decided to build anyway. On every level from ideology, to enlarging the community, to safeguarding the farm, "We felt that we didn't have a choice. We had to take the risk," she said. At one time, she said, it was an accepted policy that a family could build on their farm to protect it. Now, she said, you can no longer do that. After the Ben-David's moved into their home, a young couple with a baby followed suit. Last month, security forces knocked down both homes. Within two days, Palestinians had stolen equipment from the vineyard. Several days after that, said Yehudit, they rebuilt a much simpler and less expensive structure. The young couple built next to them as well. On Monday, she was woken by a knock at the door. When she opened it, police were there along with civil administration officials to destroy her home. Now, she and her family are back in a caravan. It's clear to her that homes were destroyed because of politics, said Yehudit, adding that "Justice is on my side."