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Thursday, February 02, 2006


OK, so I was going to wait for the husband to post about this, but after reading this, I got so upset I had to write about it. Many Jews, especially Israelis are starting to blog about the events that transpired in Amona yesterday. There is so much disinformation out there to make it look like this was a Disengagement gone horribly wrong, that it's frustrating. Over 200 people were injured in yesterday's altercations, including a few very serious injuries, that it is vital to examine the facts.

Myth #1: This was a Disengagement of a settlement.
Fact: This was not a Disengagement ordered by the government. Nor, did Olmert initiate the evacuation. This was a court ordered clearing of 9 housing units that were built illegaly, without permits, on a legitimate settlement. Again, this was NOT a Disengagement.

Myth #2: Olmert ordered the evacuation.
Fact: Olmert did NOT order the evacuation. The courts did. The courts handed down the decision to clear these 9 housing units over EIGHT months ago. However, the destruction was postponed until late January so as not to coincide or be too close to the date of the Diengagement. It seems the date is meaningless. As will be seen later, these kids were going to everything in their power to make sure that the world knew that this had to do with the Disengagement.

However, Olmert decided to reject the head of the settlement's appeal to allow the houses to be safely moved to Ofra within a specified period of time, or the settlers would destroy them, themselves. I disagree with this decision because I feel it was done out of disingenuous reasons. Olmert wasn't trying to "enforce" law. He was trying to make himself look tough on illegal outposts before the upcoming March elections. Let me be clear. I don't like Olmert. I don't want him to be Prime Minister. If I had a choice between him and BB, I would choose BB simply because he would be the lesser of two evils. I don't like BB that much, either. Now, because of this move, Olmert will be linked as the one who caused yesterday's fiascal even-though he's not responsible for ordering it.

Here in lies my main issue. There are many people complaining that this should never have been done because there are thousands of homes within Israel that have been been built without permits. They especially like to point out the fact that there are thousands of Arab homes being built and have been built on privately owned Israeli land, illegally, or without permits. I have to say to these people that I whole-heartedly agree with them with one exception. I believe that the Israeli government is not going after the illegal Arab homes for two reasons. One, they're afraid of the riots that would ensue, effectively rendering them hostage to the threats of their own citizens. If they're so afraid of their own Arab citizens, how can they say they're tough on other people? Reasons number 2 came to me as a result of what happened in my neighborhood. Namely, an international incident. Hebrew University is building a new student's village. When the project was about to ensue, there was a big bruhaha over illegal Arab houses that were on some of the land that was going to be built on. In the international scene, everyone said that this was another case of the Israelis forcing Palestinians/arabs off of "disputed" land. Of course, no-one mentioned the fact that all of the land that Hebrew University wanted to build on was owned by Hebrew Univeristy and had been owned by them since the early 20th century, and the houses that they wanted to get rid of had been built there illegally, so HU had the complete right and authority to kick these people out. I beleive that the government is looking to avoid more of these kinds of incidents.

However, to say that because of these reasons, no evacuation of illegal outposts should be conducted is completely ridiculous. Israel is a country of law. We are ruled by law. These specific houses were brought before the courts by a left-wing group. While I don't agree with their tactics, the court ordered that these NINE houses were illegal, NOT the settlement, and had to be demolished. They rejected an appeal, like Olmert did, to allow for the houses to be moved to another location until legal permits could be obtained or to allow the settlers to destroy the houses, themselves. It's not as if this was a random settlement chosen by Olmert for "liquidation". This brings me to the next myth.

Myth #3: The police had no right to hit the protestors or have clubs.
Fact: Being that this was not a disengagement but police coming to enforce a court ordered evacuation, they had every right to use riot gear and rules. Personally, I felt that they should have had even more weapons and protection. These police officers were there to enforce the law. They should have had rubber bullets, tear gas, and fog horns in hand. These protestors threw CINDER BLOCKS. They threw STONES. That's what upsets me the most! THEW THREW STONES!!! That makes them no better than the Palestinians. During the Intifada, when the Palestinians were throwing rocks at our soldiers, people were crying for them to do more and be more violent in order to defend themselves. But here, we say that they have no right to defend themselves when CITIZENS of their country are doing the same. The police have no reason to be ashamed of themselves with the exception of those subsequently found guilty of being overly violent and brutal. They enforced the law. Saying that they had no right to is saying that you don't believe in the rule of law.

The protestors picked the wrong event to protest. It was bad tactics on their part. This wasn't an evacuation of a settlement. I CANT KEEP SAYING THAT ENOUGH!! What's shameful is the fact that these kids (WHERE THE HELL ARE THEIR PARENTS IN ALL OF THIS!!) were out there trying to stop Israel from being a country of law. There were some good articles printed today in the Jerusalem Post over this very point.

Descent into violence: (Excerps)

Amona supporters and their leaders seem to have been engaged in a dangerous form of brinkmanship. Not content with nonviolent protest, they attempted to calibrate the level of violence.
Is it permissible to throw paint-filled light bulbs as opposed to rocks? Can one actively resist when the police come to take you away? These are the wrong questions. It is not a matter of how much violence can be gotten away with; the use of violence of any sort against security forces is unacceptable.
In a democratic society, civil disobedience is a time-honored form of protest. Streaming to a closed military zone to protest the legal actions of the state is perhaps understandable. However, when security forces arrive, protesters must go willingly or at least not violently resist arrest or removal. That is how citizens of democracies protest government decisions.
Representatives of the state engaged in making laws should not be on the side of the lawbreakers. By participating in the protest, they were effectively undermining the rule of law they are sworn to uphold. Their place is on the floor of the Knesset, not the roof of an illegal house in Amona.

'We want war,' protesters chant (Excerps):

A "civil war started here," declared Danya, 14, as she sat on the ground Wednesday afternoon watching border policemen push activist teens down a dirt incline, at the tail end of a five-hour failed battle to save nine empty homes on the Amona outpost from destruction by security forces.
Danya said they were angry over the pullout and wanted to take a stand on their principles of defending the Land of Israel in God's name.
A number of them were particularly upset that the council tried to broker a compromise that would have allowed the homes to be moved to Ofra and would have sent the teens away without a fight.
At 5 a.m., upon hearing such a deal might be possible, dozens of activists gathered around veteran settler leader Pinhas Wallerstein and called him the "devil" while chanting "We want war, we want war."

Analysis: The new anarchists (Excerps):

In terms of its scope and damage, Wednesday's clash heralds no civil war. In terms of its instigators, however, the war is already afoot, and in terms of their prospects, they already have lost.
From the viewpoint of the religious youngsters who dominated the rioters in Amona, Ehud Olmert is Rehoboam, King Solomon's unworthy heir whose fateful response to the people's plea for a relaxation of his father's heavy taxes was: "My father flogged you with whips, but I will flog you with scorpions."
The weapons at play Wednesday in the hills of Benjamin were not whips and scorpions, but billy clubs and stones. Stones much like the ones with which those biblical rebels murdered Rehoboam's tax collector, Adoram. That rebellion was so successful that Solomon's kingdom was instantaneously, and irrevocably, split between Judah and Israel.
Curiously enough what is at stake now is remarkably similar to what was at stake then, when the Israelites of Samaria challenged Jerusalem's authority and tested a newly arrived successor's sway and resolve. The only difference is that this time the ruler represents not two of 12 tribes, but a decisive majority, while the rebels represent so small a minority that even its own leaders no longer claim to represent "half the nation," as they habitually had until last year. In fact, last summer they even failed to gather the several hundred thousand demonstrators they once would easily mobilize for mass rallies.
Yet the rioters' problem is not only in their limited following but also in their ideological integrity. As super-patriots for whom the Jewish state's survival is a supreme value, it is remarkable that they do not understand that twisting the state's arm and denying its majority's will undermines the Zionist enterprise itself.

I wholly agree that what transpired yesterday must be investigated, any-one guilty of brutallity and illegal actions should be punished to the full extent of the law, and the incident need to be learned from. However, to say that the country should be ashemed of what it did, and these KIDS are innocent is to ignore and dispell that Israel is a country ruled by law and court orders and law mean nothing if it comes to Jews doing illegal things on their own land. I will tell you the motto we used in Bnei Akiva:

There is no Israel without Torah. It is not the other way around.

"We are in bondage to the law so that we might be free."
Cicero Roman philosopher (106-43 BC)
"Lawlessness is lawlessness. Anarchy is anarchy is anarchy. Neither race nor color nor frustration is an excuse for either lawlessness or anarchy."
Marshall, Thurgood U.S. lawyer and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1908-1993)
"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent."
Asimov, Isaac Science-Fiction Author (1920-1992)
"Violence cannot build a better society. Disruption and disorder nourish repression, not justice. They strike at the freedom of every citizen. The community cannot—it will not—tolerate coercion and mob rule."
Commission on Civil Disorder, 1968
"There is a violence that liberates, and a violence that enslaves; there is a violence that is moral and a violence that is immoral."
Mussolini, Benito Italian dictator and leader of the Fascist movement (1883-1945)


At 11:59 PM, Blogger Berel Dov Lerner said...

One thing is sure - if the Amona affair gives any indication of Olmert's leadership style, we are in for a very bloody and self-destructive next few years. Letting Olmert oversee the partioning of Eretz Yisrael is like letting a lumber jack do open heart surgery with a chain-saw.

At 6:12 AM, Blogger Sultan Knish said...

1. actually it was Peace Now initiated, which Olmert's wife is affiliated with

2. the push very much originated in olmert's office, the courts were at best mixed on the subject

3. the cinderblocks are a myth, the police violence had nothing to do with any supposed attacks on them. They are seen here beating people who were handcuffed inside on the floor, were those people somehow managing to throw cinderblocks at them with their hands tied? were knesset members throwing cinderblocks with their hands tied?


"What's shameful is the fact that these kids (WHERE THE HELL ARE THEIR PARENTS IN ALL OF THIS!!) were out there trying to stop Israel from being a country of law."

No what's shamefull is that these kids were trying to stand up for democracy while people like you lie and go all out to defend the thugs who smash the chests of 15 year old girls

this one was throwing cinderblocks no doubt, she couldn't lift one to save her life http://i1.tinypic.com/n6yi6o.jpg

or maybe this one was?


this man I'm sure was...


and this one is waiting to throw one up at the horse that's trampling him


and this one certainly was


these people could be your neighbors, they can be the ones you pass on the street, they didn't do anything wrong except protest a political decision to demolish jewish homes

would you be as cavalier if these were Missippi cops smashing the heads of civil rights protesters. We all know it would be a whole other standard but when it's time to demonize the settlers, out come the lies

take a look at that girl again, when you justify the thugs that beat her, you have her blood on your hands

At 12:03 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

Olah: You correctly trace the delicately nuanced legal story - but then you ignore many elements to reach your conclusion. In particular:

- Olmert shopped the territories for an opportunity to incite violence. The week before Amona, he tried to get his bloody footage in Hebron. In that context, this "legal proceeding" was plucked from obscurity and artificially made a national priority.

- You are absolutely wrong about the police being justified in their violence. Riot gear and skull cracking are not valid responsed to passive, non-violent civil disobedience - if it were, Ghandi wouldn't have lived to a ripe old age, and India would still be a British colony.

- and were the settlers non-violent, or were they spoiling for a fight? All the sources you quote are secondary reporting. The actual photos and footage show the teens not wielding bricks, but linking arms - and being assaulted by riot police. They show soldiers beating already subdued and handcuffed teenagers.

Sorry - NONE of this is acceptable police behavior in a democracy.

The "critically wounded soldiers" don't seem to have shown up at Hadassah or any other hospital in any appreciable number, undercutting the assertions by official mouthpieces that the settlers attacked the police.

Olmert shopped the territories for an opportunity to crack skulls - for demagogic political reasons. That - and the increasingly totalitarian nature of Israeli society - are the real issues here, not the niceties of Amona's legal status.

At 5:12 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

westbankmama, while I understand what you're trying to say, this was NOT passive non-violent resistance. If it had been, when the police had come, they would have all just sat down, held hands, and sang Kumbaya, or maybe my undestanding of the terms is just based on the anti-Vietnam protests. However, these kids were actively resisting the police, throwing objects at them, and actively resisting arrest by kicking ladders and at the police. I dont know about you, but that doesn't sound like passive resistence.

Everyone's always so quick to demonize the police and make them sound like blood thirsty savages. But, that's just plain untrue. Legally, by every right, they did what they were allowed to do. And, being that we are a democratic society, I am fully supportive of a full out investigation to see if any police committed acts of police brutality.

Again, wbm, I hate Olmert. I think he is burying himself very deep with his current actions. I believe with his latest actions, he handed BB the PM.

Lo nishkach, I won't answer anything you've written, because I don't appreciate, nor will I concede to bullying or insulting. You are entitled to your opinion, as I am entitled to mine, but you should do yourself a favor and learn to make an argument, like webstbank mama, without resulting to insults, guilt trips, and bullying. It doesn't convince anybody.

At 7:58 PM, Blogger the sabra said...

I don't see what lo nishkach said that was so terrible but regardless...

olah i have so much to say but don't think i can tackle it all. so i will ask you just one question-if the goal was to enforce the law, why didn't they bring enough officers to remove the Jews sitting in the illegal houses and merely shlep them out? like in gush katif..? why did they use such force? the yassamnikim came in using force, they weren't forced into it. they werent defending themselves. they came in haughtily and ready to fight. believe me. I was there.

At 9:46 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

I'm sorry. Yassamnikim? And, it's not for you decide what I consider going over board when it comes to comments. This is my blog, not yours.

First of all, this wasn't a Disengagement, AGAIN. I'll keep repeating that until I'm blue in the face. Therefore, the same rules do NOT apply. If you want to talk about poor planning or execution on the part of the police, that's fine. But, to say that they had no right to treat this the way they did is just plain wrong. These were trespassers in riot formation. I'm sorry I can't have so much sympathy for some kids doing stupid things, as you would like. But, I'm so sick and tired and disgusted by people so ready to demonize and categorize the police as being blood thirsty war mongers, who love and live to beat the crap out of kids. If you really believe that, then you've never met or gotten to know any cops. I'm not going to concede to say that the kids did the right thing.

Undemocratic? In a democracy, the country lives by the rule of law and force. This was completely democratic. I'm sorry that you want it to be other wise, and are looking for a scape-goat to the ideocy. This was stupid all around. And, hopefully, above all, Olmert will pay for his stupidity. This should never have happened, and he is to blame for it, not the police.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger Greg said...

OC-I'm not aware of all the behind-the-table negotiating/lack of it on behalf of Olmert and I do agree with all who've posted before me here that Olmert is simply a reincarnation of Sharon, Sharon being THE TRAITOR OF ALL TRAITORS and a loser who will be remembered for expelling Jews from their homes rather than for all those heroic deeds he managed to get under that (wide, wide) belt.

Lo nishkach: I'm sure you're in on all the latest Kach propaganda and OC is completely right in discrediting you as she did so brilliantly.

West Bank Mama: you sound like a West Bank Papa or is it just that some Jewish women have that bitter hatred that's been homegrown in certain communities in Judea and Samaria. In general I think your comments are pretty pathetic as is your knowledge on the issues you're so vehement about.

And once again, OC: "BB" is a lot better for the Jewish people than is Olmert(Sharon's mirror image only a bit skinnier at the belt).

Have I insulted everybody yet:)~

At 2:23 AM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Eitan, you haven't insulted me yet, though I disagree with your comment about Sharon. There's only two simple questions to ask. 1) Do you believe that the Army has a right to pull back from a position? 2) If they have that right, should they leave the people they are protecting to fend for themselves, in essence leaving them to rot and be slaughtered?

Might I remind you that when the French left Algeria, they gave their people the choice to, either, come with them or stay. Those who stayed were killed with no-one left to defend them. So, I don't look at as expulsion so much as doing something almost no other nation does, which save their people from certain death by making sure they take every single person with them and leave no-one behind.

But, other than that, I agree with what you wrote. I hate Olmert. I haven't gotten to the point where I wish even Peretz gets elected over him. (I'm not that suicidal and stupid.) But, I am hoping that this insistent shooting himself in the foot, that Olmert is doing, will cost him the election. BB is a lot better than him. Though, I believe BB is best suited for Finance Minster. That is where he will get the most and the best work done.

At 1:19 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

Olah - you wrote:
In a democracy, the country lives by the rule of law and force.
- - - - - - - - - - -
Do you really believe this?

Then you don't know what democracy is.

The central tenet of any modern democracy is that there are limits to use of force - even by the government.

There is no way to square the level of violence that is corroborated by all eyewitnesses with the government's legitimate right to apply the law - certainly not when the government overturned a compromise struck by the settler adults and the army.

Again, the context for all this is Olmert's attempt to stir up the same violence in Hebron the previous week.

A cooler head than mine has analyzed the "law and order" defense of the police - I suggest you read and think about this blogger's post:


At 4:46 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Actually, if you read the Founders' Notes - you know, written by the people who invented democracy, that's exactly what democracy is. It's the basis of democracy. Another basis for democracy is that they review the actions of the force. But, OK. If you believe that nowhere in democracy does it say that the country lives by the rule of law, and that there is a police force there to enforce the law, thereby preventing anarchy, go right ahead. That way, you can justify when more things like this happen, and call it "passive resistance" rather than trying to start a civil war.

I am not justifying what Olmert did. I don't know how many times I have to say that. I know he used this as an excuse for politics and should have struck the compromise. But, I will not say that the police were out for blood. They were there, doing their jobs, and following their orders. You really have no idea what police have to go through. They're underappreciated, underpaid, and demonized by the public. Yet, they go out every day, and put their lives on the line to protect YOU. Do you even know any police officers? Well, do you? Because I was friends with many of them. Many of them who lost brothers, sisters, and friends on 9/11. I have nothing but the utmost respect for all of them. You won't change that.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

OG -
I also know (and am related to) police officers.

The most salient feature of democracy is that the government is severely limited in its ability to use force against citizens expressing dissent.

If the policemen at Amona had received instructions to simply "do their jobs" they would have done what they have done previously: patiently, moderately separated the linked arms of unarmed civilians, and arrested them.

That did not happen. And it's clear that it wasn't even planned for - they managed to bring mounted police to a barren hillside, but neglected to bring the vans that were used in other cases to take the arrested people into custody. In fact there were only 20 or so arrests.

This is unacceptable in a democracy.

At 8:38 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Poor planning is not unacceptable in a democracy, nor is riot control, which is what the police planned for. What is unacceptable in a democracy is the fact that Olmert has refused to call for an investigation into what happened, and the break-down in communication. That is unacceptable.

The fact is what happened this past summer was unprecedented. You would not have seen that kind of control in any other place in that kind of circumstances. However, to to expect that to become the norm from now on in cases of civil unrest, disobedience, and violence is unrealistic. There are time when police are completely legitimate in using force against those attacking them. What would have been completely undemocratic and completely excessive force is if the police had brought guns and started shooting protestors which isn't even that uncommon in democratic countries.

Democracy isn't the perfect system, but it's better than all the others. It's also a system in continuous renewal and progression. As a woman living in a democratice country, if you have a problem with the way the state conducted itself, by all means, protest yourself and call upon the government to change. That's a democracy.


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