Reports Of Settler Violence Were "Greatly Exaggerated".
Moshe Zar, owner of the Gilad Farm, spoke very emotionally to Arutz-7's Emanuel Shilo this morning about the events of the past few days. He wished to emphasize the following two points:
"First, to say that people are raising hands against policemen is simply not true; it's a total lie. Saturday night, we were sitting here about 120 people, boys, girls, and others Suddenly 200 huge special-unit policemen, each one a gorilla, came and lined up about 80 meters from us. All of a sudden, they started running towards us like a swarm of bees, and started swinging and attacking and punching us horrifically. They didn't begin by asking us to leave, but just started hitting, like animals! There was not one policewoman amongst them [to deal with the girls]. Not one of us hit back; they started hitting us! The Prime Minister and everyone else talking about people who hit policemen are mistaken; none of us hit - except one case I saw where five or six policemen were on top of one kid, kicking and punching him; wouldn't you try to fight back in such a situation? ...
"[Regarding Wednesday's incident], there were a few youths who threw rocks at cars, and this disturbed me greatly - but the ones who started a real war were the policemen! Not one of the policemen wore an ID tag or their ranks - even the police commander of Ariel! When asked their names, they all said that their name was Shachar Ayalon - the commander of Shai... There is no bigger lie than to order policeman not to give their names! ... He [Ayalon] stood here haughtily like a hero in the movies as he watched his men wantonly destroying everything here so that nothing could ever be used again. I cried to them as they destroyed the synagogue, I asked them, "Why do you have to destroy it?" - and I received no answer... All these years that I have been here, the Arabs recognized that I purchased this land and never had any complaints...
"Secondly, those who talk loud and clear about the "rule of law" - it is a total lie to say that this is illegal. This farm is totally legal. I have all the documents. The law is that one who purchases land but has not yet registered in the tabu [land registry] - and at present it is impossible to do so... - it belongs to him for all intents and purposes. My land is of this status. I am allowed to use it for agricultural purposes, and to build buildings on it, factories, stores, whatever I want, without even submitting the plans or getting approval. All I have to do is inform the authorities afterwards. The only thing is that I can't build a neighborhood on it. But to say that this is an illegal farm, like the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister and others say, is simply a gross lie! ...
"I have one piece of land on which Arabs have built a truly illegal farm - on my land! And all my pleas to the police have accomplished nothing, and all of them just continue to ignore this illegal outpost..."
In light of the above, The Jerusalem Post's editorial today requires a re-reading. The Post writes, "On Saturday night, 12 policemen were injured, and on Sunday eight more, while trying to evacuate a small group of settlers from the illegal outpost Gilad Farm in Samaria. The violence these settlers have used against the security forces is unacceptable, and the multiple excuses proffered for it do not hold water." To begin with, "settlers' violence" does not appear to be the issue at all - not only according to Moshe Zar, but also according to Samaria-Judea District Police Chief Shachar Ayalon. Ayalon told Gush Etzion Regional Council head Sha'ul Goldstein yesterday morning that none of the injuries were caused by the settlers. "He told me loud and clear," Goldstein told Arutz-7, "that none of the [policeman] were hit by settlers. All the policemen that were hit were hit because they fell because of the darkness and they broke their glasses. No one of them was hit by settlers..."
Another Sabbath guest at the farm, Yitzchak Pass of Hevron, who remained on Sunday as well, told Arutz-7 today, "There was violence, but most if not all was provoked by the police. Just the fact that they came without ID tags tells us that something was not going to be 'kosher...'"
The Post lists six reasons given for the settlers' objections to the uprooting:
** Ben-Eliezer lied and reneged on a secret deal he made, according to people such as MKs Sha'ul Yahalom and Gideon Ezra, according to which the residents could not sleep there but the farm would be allowed to remain.
** It is just some young hotheads.
** What about all the illegal Palestinian building? It is impossible to deny that the law is being implemented selectively...
** The land was bought, fair and square.
** The evacuation desecrated the Shabbat.
** It's all politics - specifically the "widespread claim that the only reason these outposts are being evacuated now is to help Ben-Eliezer with his standing in the Labor primaries. The law, in other words, is being manipulated for crass political purposes."
The Post editorial dismisses each of the above points, which it admits are "valid," by saying that they do not justify violence against security forces. If in fact there was little or no unprovoked violence against security forces, as Moshe Zar and others claim, the settlers' "excuses" are no longer just that - but rather explain convincingly why so many people objected so strongly to the uprooting of Jewish families in the Land of Israel from their homes.