Saturday, July 26, 2008

'We are not IDF's Punching Bag'


About damn time they started speaking up.

The libel against them has been going on too long.

Judea/Samaria Jews Talk Tough
by Ze'ev Ben-Yechiel

Friday, July 25, 2008

Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria lashed out Thursday at their treatment
by the Israeli Defense Forces after a day of tense clashes in those
regions, promising to exact a 'price' in response to the IDF's physical
aggression, refusal to protect them, and above all the way the IDF treats
them in the media.

"We're not the IDF's punching bag," they proclaimed in a statement from the
Binyamin-area 'Homesh First' activist headquarters, referring to several
instances throughout the day when the army spokesperson's office accused
Jewish civilians of violently attacking soldiers. The civilians were
vehemently denying that they assaulted any troops, and some of them plan to
sue the army for libel.

Confrontations broke out Thursday in several locations between local Jewish
residents and Israeli armed forces, in which the IDF was sent in to forcibly
remove Jewish residents from their homes. The first incident of the day
occurred at 11 a.m., when Yasam special police forces conducted a raid on
the outpost of Adei Ad, near Shiloh in Samaria, and carted away a bus that
was being used as living quarters.

The Binyamin activist headquarters said in response that if the security
forces continue to harass Jewish pioneers in the existing communities, they
will have to deal with the pioneers in new locations as well.

In another confrontation at Adei Ad, two Jewish men were arrested by Israeli
forces after one of them snatched a rifle from a soldier and fired it into
the air. IDF spokesmen described the incident as another violent act
committed by 'settlers,' and denied any wrongdoing in the incident. The
civilian involved in the incident claimed that he took the weapon to save
his life from Arab assailants, while the soldiers did nothing to protect

Homesh First said the man who took the gun was an air-conditioning
technician from Jerusalem who was travelling with a passenger from the town
of Kedumim to Itamar in Samaria. The two were attacked by dozens of Arabs
who pelted his car with rocks and then attempted to extract him from the car
to lynch him. Panic-stricken, he ran to a group of IDF soldiers standing
nearby who refused to do anything. Desperate for the soldiers to do their
job, he gave up trying to convince them, took the weapon of one of the
soldiers, fired in the air and then gave it back. It remains unclear whether
the civilian took the rifle forcibly or the soldier agreed to let the
civilian use it.

'Army must apologize for false report'
After the initial statements from the IDF accusing the Jewish civilians,
police determined that the lives of the two men had truly been in danger,
and that their car had indeed been seriously damaged by rocks thrown by Arab
rioters. The two were released immediately.

So far no apology for the false report has come from the IDF spokesman's
office. Nor has there been any investigation into why the soldiers, who saw
two Jewish civilians in mortal danger at the hands of an Arab mob, failed to
act to protect them, even when the Jews begged them to.

Homesh First said it expected the IDF to issue a formal apology for
releasing the "negligent" report.

In yet another incident, the IDF said that during an altercation with a
group of Jews at Havat Gilad, one of the Jews threatened a soldier with
bodily harm by brandishing a knife and pressing it to the soldier's neck.
The army spokesman's report said that the Jew then grabbed the soldier's
helmet and fled the scene. The soldier was unharmed.

Ynet quoted military spokesmen as saying that the incident was viewed
"severely" and would be dealt with. "A red line has been crossed here, this
is very serious," said the spokesmen.

However, the Havat Gilad Jews vehemently denied that anyone from their group
had threatened a soldier with a knife or in any way. Meanwhile they
confirmed that a helmet had indeed been stolen from a soldier, and said it
would be returned to the military promptly.

Itai Zar founded Havat Gilad (Gilad's Farm) and named it after his brother,
who was killed in an Arab terror attack. He told reporters that the army's
claims "are utter lies. There were two witnesses here - one of them the
regional security officer and the other one a lawyer. They both saw the
helmet being taken from the soldier, but there were no threats made with a
knife. Therefore, we intend to sue the IDF Spokesman's Office."

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