By Boris Shusteff
Golda Meir once said that she would never forgive the Arabs for forcing Jewish soldiers to kill them. What would Golda Meir say now? Would she think that it is possible to forgive the current Israeli leaders for forcing Jewish soldiers to evict Jews from Jewish land? When the Israeli soldiers returned victorious in 1967 there was little joy in the streets. Golda Meir said about them:
"Each one was a picture of sadness. Not only because they had seen their brothers die, but because they had had to kill their enemies. Many locked themselves in their rooms and wouldn't speak. Or when they opened their mouths, it was to repeat like a refrain: "I had to shoot. I killed."(1)
Barak's decision to forcefully evict the Jews from Havat Maon exposed the souls of the Jewish soldiers to a psychological torture. The Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot wrote that the "soldiers and police personnel were told not to make eye contact with the settlers. A soldier [who] participated in the evacuation said: "They called me Nazi, murderer. I am heartbroken." (2) They were not only heartbroken these soldiers, some of them wept and prayed together with the settlers witnessing the destruction of the houses.
Barak's government named its action "Operation Mutual Reconciliation." [Editor's Note: Do you remember what was written above the gate to Auschwitz: ARBEIT MACH FREI (Work makes you free)? Barak has also gotten quite good at deceiving Jews.] Who can tell how deep the scars are that were left on the Jewish souls of soldiers and settlers after this "reconciliation?" "Those fortifying Maon Farm, together with infants, lined up opposite those in uniform. [One of the soldiers said] 'We felt as if we were evacuating our brothers - they saw us as enemies.'"(2)
According to MK Yuri Stern (Yisrael Beiteinu) "the entire evacuation of Jewish outposts is illegal." Maybe this is not common knowledge, but the land related issues in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha) are governed by Jordanian law. Stern explained in an interview with Arutz 7 that,
"This law states that a building cannot be considered illegal unless a demolition or stop-work order was issued and delivered during its construction. It cannot be termed illegal retroactively. The Jewish outposts, therefore, cannot be considered illegal, and may not be evacuated. Only if the government turns to a court, or the ranking IDF Commander gives a personal order, can a house be termed illegal "(4).
Havat Maon was founded two and a half years ago. "The families at Maon had one goal: to work the land. They planted vineyards, an olive grove and other fruit trees" (5). Their biggest crime consisted of their desire to obey God's will and live in the heartland of Eretz Yisrael. Dov Dribben, one of the Maon founders was murdered by the Arabs because he did not want to abandon this place. "The house he had started building was finished by others, including a nineteen year old named Harel Ben-Nun, a skilled builder, who was later killed when ambushed by Arabs at the Shomron community Yitzhar" (5). Instead of constructing a memorial in Havat Maon to immortalize the memory of Dov Dribben and Harel Ben-Nun the Barak government gave an order to demolish the place. Is it much more important to allow the monument erected by the Arabs in Ashdod to stand in commemoration of the death of Arabs who fell fighting against the Jewish state during the Intifada, than to allow Dov Dribben's widow and her four small children to live in the house built by Dov and Harel?
Yuri Stern said that there are 1300 illegal Arab buildings for which demolition orders have been issued, and that these orders were confirmed by the Supreme Court. There were no demolition or stop-work orders issued against Dov Dribben's house. However, Dov's house is demolished and the 1300 illegal Arab houses are safely in place. If the Israeli government cares so much about the legality why did it not demolish the Arab houses first? Perhaps the Arabs' souls are very sensitive? Maybe it is due to this Arab super-sensitivity that the Israeli government sentenced Avigdor Eskin to two-and-a half years in prison for placing a pig's head on the grave of Izz el-Deen al-Qassam, the Arab Palestinian nationalist whose hands were covered with Jewish blood? So why then such insensitivity towards the Jews?
Barak's apologists try to find excuses for Barak's action. They say that the Israeli Prime Mimister gave the order to destroy only 12 out of 42 outposts. "He took down Maon, but not before he paved the way for many of the other outposts to turn into full-fledged settlements"(6). Hence, as the former MK and Elkana local council head Nissan Slomiansky put it "When this round is over, the situation of the outposts will be better than it was under the Likud. Under [Binyamin] Netanyahu they were illegitimate children. Barak has made them legitimate" (6). Perhaps this is how Slomiansky wants to see the situation, however, much more important is the question of how the picture is viewed by the Arabs and the rest of the world.
In Gaza, Ahmed Abdel-Rahman, the Palestinian cabinet secretary after destruction of Havat Maon "called for the removal of all Israeli settlements and said: 'It is a step forward in the process of rebuilding trust with the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority"(7). Yasser Arafat himself, "has congratulated Ehud Barak on the uprooting of the Maon farm. He said that he has received a promise from Israel to uproot the remaining 41 outposts as well."(8). Certainly, Arafat is not the most trustworthy person in the world, and maybe Barak did not promise to uproot the remaining outposts. Nevertheless, the precedent is established. The Agency France Press summarized it on November 11 in this way: "the destruction of the Havat Maon outpost in the southern West Bank by the army and police was a first, in the sense that no inhabited Jewish settlement in occupied Palestinian territory had ever been removed by order of the Israeli state."
Civilized mankind likes it when the Jews perform the "dirty" work themselves. How many times in our history have we intentionally and unintentionally done everything what our enemies wanted us to do. It did not matter weather we were driven by fear, jealousy, cunning, submissiveness or any other reasons. The result was always the same: we were the losers. Joel Brand, one of the witnesses at the Kastner trial in Jerusalem, said that S.S. Colonel Von Wislisceny told him: "Our system is to exterminate the Jews through the Jews. We concentrate the Jews in the ghettos - through Jews; we deport the Jews - by the Jews; and we gas the Jews - by the Jews" (9).
Today Arafat could continue Von Wislisceny's list. He might say: "Our plan is to exterminate the Jews through the Jews. We devour Jewish land - through the Jews; we destroy Jewish settlements - by the Jews; we re-write Israeli history - by the Jews; we uproot the Jewish and Zionist values - by the Jews."
Speaking after the demolition of Havat Maon, Barak said that it was necessary "to impose the government's will on its citizens"(3). It appears that Barak is not aware that when David Ben-Gurion proposed the Law of Return to the Knesset, he said: "The state does not grant permission to Jews to immigrate here; the right of Jews to return to Israel preceded the State of Israel, and it was this right that built the state" (10)
It is not up to Barak or any other Israeli leader to "impose their will" on the Jews regarding their right to settle Eretz Yisrael. It is not only the right of the Jews, it is their obligation to do that. The right of the Jews to settle the land of Israel preceded even the ancient Jewish kingdoms. The will of God is imposed on the Jews for ever. [11/13/99]
1. Oriana Fallaci: "Interview with History"
2. Yediot Aharanot, 11/11/99
3. IMRA report: PM on evacuation, Communicated by Prime Minister's Media Adviser Jerusalem 10/11/99
4. Arutz 7 news, 10/24/99
5. David Wilder, "The Maon Homestead's Last Stand," Hebron news, 11/10/99
6. Herb Keinon, "Barak's neat tightrope walk," The Jerusalem Post 11/12/99
7. Washington Post, 11/10/99
8. Arutz 7 news, 11/11/99
9. Ben Hecht, Perfidy
10. David Newman, "Getting almost everything", The Jerusalem Post , 11/10/99
Boris Shusteff is an engineer in upstate New York. He is also a research associate with the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies. The Freeman Center has an archive of Shusteff articles on its web site: http://freeman.io.com