Sunday, September 16, 2007

Police Evict Dozens from Homesh During Holiday


Amazing how the harassment of the Homesh group has continued--even when it occurs against the holiday laws.



by Gil Ronen and Hillel Fendel

( Security forces evicted dozens of Jews from the ruins of the Shomron (Samaria) community of Homesh during the first hours of the Rosh HaShanah holiday. The Jews had planned to spend the holiday and the Sabbath in Homesh, which was destroyed in 2005 as part of Ariel Sharon's Disengagement attempt to appease Israel's enemies.

Dozens of policemen, some without name badges, descended on Homesh Wednesday evening, after the prayers and before the holiday meal, and began evicting the families and singles who had gathered there. The police at first called upon them to leave willingly because of alleged "intelligence warnings" of a plan by Arabs to attack them.

Some people indeed left the place following this warning, while others who were armed fled to the hills, as has become customary in attempted evictions of this nature. Those who remained told security forces that the proper response to a terror threat, if such indeed existed, is to set up roadblocks and hunt down the terrorists, not evacuate Homesh. However, fearing that the police warnings might indeed be true, the remaining Jews allowed themselves to be taken out of Homesh in security forces' vehicles, and brought to the police station in Ariel.

The police then announced that the terror threat had passed.

Police Station Holiday
The police intended to leave the families at the police station, but the latter protested: "It is totally irresponsible to evict us with children and babies and dump us somewhere with no food, when we have the holiday and Sabbath before us." Faced with the prospect of
The "Homesh First" headquarters said Saturday night that activists would not leave Homesh barren for long.
spending the holiday in the station with the distraught and angry families, the policemen eventually relented and took them to the nearby community of Shavei Shomron before dawn.

The "Homesh First" movement's headquarters said Saturday night that activists would not leave Homesh barren for long.

A spokesman for the Judea/Samaria Police told Arutz-7's Hebrew news desk that the terror alert necessitated the eviction of the families despite the fact that it involved desecration of the holiday. "Sensitivity to the holiday is important," the spokesman said, "but after assessment sessions were held, it was decided that there was a need to operate during the holiday."

IDF Spokesman Explains
An IDF spokesman said that terror threats against Homesh are a common phenomenon, and "despite this, a group of Israeli citizens arrived in Homesh on the eve of the holiday in an attempt to spend the holiday there. The security forces evicted all of them that night, and they did not return throughout the holiday... The IDF was forced to desecrate the holiday in order to evict them because it could not just sit there doing nothing in the face of warnings of danger to the Israelis' lives... The people coming to Homesh keep doing this, against the law, and do not respond to the security forces' warnings."

Homesh: "Just an Excuse"
The furious Homesh First organizers say that the alleged "terror threats" were merely an excuse: "There has been a regular Jewish presence in Homesh for the last two months... It's very interesting that the 'threat' disappeared immediately after the last Jews left."

"In addition, the same forces who tried to prevent us from going to Homesh before the holiday are the same ones who came to remove us during the holiday," a Homesh First statement said.

"Why is it that when most of the Jews were taken down from Homesh, the security forces also left - instead of remaining to try to catch the terrorists who were supposedly on their way to the site?" ask the Homesh pioneers.

"It's clear to us that this was just an excuse. If there is a problem, the security forces should deal with it and not start fighting with those who are threatened. This was mass desecration of the holiday, an abuse of security needs, and a breach of trust on the part of IDF Shomron Brigade Commander Amir Bar'am for the sake of a political act. Even during the Disengagement two years ago, and ever since then, both sides were careful not to lie and use security threats as an excuse."

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