Elections in Israel are a dirty business and are not for the weak or faint-hearted. The first opening salvo of the current administration starts off with the illegal house demolition of a homestead near Hebron shortly before the expected announcement of a general election call. Here is how the incident is reported in Ha’aretz.
Settlers rioted on Sunday near the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, desecrating a Muslim graveyard, after Israeli security forces evacuated a nearby illegal outpost. The settlers smashed some of the graves and poured paint over others. Right-wing activist Noam Federman had established the outpost, a farm, which was evacuated by contingents of the Israel Defense Force, the Border Police and police earlier Sunday
Rightists came to the site and threw stones at the security forces in response to the evacuation. A number of them were arrested for attacking a police officer, and two young women were arrested after they tried to set a police car alight. During the rioting, settlers hurled abuse at the members of the security forces, called for a "revenge attack" against them. "We hope they will be defeated by their enemies, that they will all be [kidnapped IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit, that they will all be killed and all slaughtered because this is what they deserve," they said.
In addition to vandalizing the graves, settlers also damaged over 80 Palestinian vehicles by smashing windows and puncturing tires. Two police cars were damaged during the altercations.
It is easy to read this and think, whoa, settlers are getting mighty violent and lawless but it is not until one gets mid-way through the report that a rationale starts to peak through the spin. Ha’aretz chooses to frames it this way:
Settlers, for their part, argued that security forces carried out the evacuation without a preliminary order and that they did not give the outpost's residents time to pack up their belongings.
There are many ways this incident could have been reported. For example, the army deliberately circumvented the law and acted outside not only due process but in a manner which is totally illegal under Israeli law but Ha’aretz would rather use the settler’s claim formula near the end of the article. Ha’aretz is a newspaper and presumably staffed by journalists so it should be a rather easy and straightforward matter to verify the ‘settlers claim’. For if the IDF didn’t follow the law and had no order issuing the demolition the homestead; why is the IDF following the path of lawlessness and on whose authority or order did the IDF choose to act on? How far up the chain of command did this illegal order come from and did the current Defense Minister have a hand in this decision, and if so, what is the rationale for acting outside the law?
In fact, this whole article could have been written like this. The IDF deliberately acted in an illegal manner under the authority and order of XYZ and the repercussions of this illegality caused a riot outside of Hebron. But it is not just Ha’aretz who is at fault. Ynet News carried a similar report to Ha’aretz but the motivation for the riot is buried near the end of the article:
Shortly after 1:30 am on Saturday night, massive police, Border Guard and IDF forces arrived near the Federman home. Noam Federman was arrested for assaulting a policeman and breaking his hand, and two young girls were taken into custody after reportedly attempting to set fire to a police car. Another person was detained for questioning.
Federman's wife, Elisheva, recounted the events in a conversation with Ynet. "It was a regular Saturday evening. We were cleaning after Shabbat. Our nine children went to sleep. I finished working on a paper for school, Noam was on the computer, when we suddenly heard dogs barking. "We received a phone call that massive forces were headed towards us. Noam went out to see what was happening, and then Yasamniks ((Israel Police special patrol unit) jumped on him. I haven't seen him since."
But I will give Ynet News credit for at least writing up an earlier report which gives a little insight to the destruction and havoc caused by the IDF’s own brand of lawlessness.
Massive police, Border Guard and IDF forces demolished an illegal outpost in the West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday night. Four people were arrested during the evacuation. Shortly after 1:30 am, the forces arrived near the home of extreme right-wing activist Noam Federman. He was arrested for assaulting a policeman and breaking his hand, and two young girls were taken into custody after reportedly attempting to set fire to a police car. Another person was detained for questioning.
Federman's wife, Elisheva, recounted the events in a conversation with Ynet. "It was a regular Saturday evening. We were cleaning after Shabbat. Our nine children went to sleep. I finished working on a paper for school, Noam was on the computer, when we suddenly heard dogs barking. "We received a phone call that massive forces were headed towards us. Noam went out to see what was happening, and then Yasamniks ((Israel Police special patrol unit) jumped on him. I haven't seen him since. "I saw herds of black uniform. I locked the door, but they broke into the house, smashed the windows, and all this without any warning. The children woke up and came to my room. "Three of the children – aged six, eight and 12 – asked me what to do. I told them to go to Givat Haharsina, knock on good people's doors and ask them to take them to their grandfather and grandmother in Kiryat Arba.
"They pulled out the entire contents of the house. Everything that was in the cupboards – books, clothes, money. They forcibly removed us from the house and took us to the Gush Etzion Junction. They said we were all under arrest. Me and six other children – aged one, three, nine, 14, 16 and 17. "They destroyed the entire house and cut off its gas supply. Several hours later, they told us we were not under arrest and let me go back to the house to take the car. I saw the complete destruction in the place and they told me, 'Take what you want.' "Eighteen years of marriage are folded under the wreckage. I didn’t even have Materna to take for the baby. The oldest daughter was taken to the police station and was arrested after her hand was broken."
The Federman family has been living in the place for two and a half years. According to the residents, the farm had been manned for 11 years. Elisheva Federman said there was no legal motive for the evacuation. "We have had right of possession on this land for 10 years. No Arab has demanded it. We launched legal proceedings and paid a lot of money. How can they do this without any warning? I hope God gives us the strength to return. We have no property now. We can build a tent there. We have nothing to lose," she said.
While the Israeli press and politicians were quick to denounce and decry the allegedly lawlessness of the Israeli Jews who rioted after the illegal destruction by the IDF of the Federman homestead, I have to ask how one can demand the Jews follow the letter of the law of the state of Israel when the government of Israel chooses to act selectively in enforcing those laws or when the government blatantly refuses to follow its own law which govern due process?
And if there is to be one law, it should be enforced impartially, and therefore, the defense minister should immediately issue orders to the IDF to demolish illegal Bedoin dwellings in the Negev or the illegal Israeli Arab residences in Tira, Taibe and East Jerusalem. Ultimately, what Ehud Barack, as Minister of Defense, forgets is this; what the government refuses to do the homes of Arab terrorists without due process should be the minimum standard employed against Jews who have not wantonly murdered anyone.