Israeli security forces evacuate settlers from Hebron house (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Amos Harel, Gili Cohen, Chaim Levinson and Barak Ravid 04/05/12)
HA'ARETZ} NEWS SERVICE
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Israeli security forces on Wednesday evacuated Israeli settlers from
a house in a Palestinian neighborhood in Hebron, in a surprise move
that ended an affair that sparked controversy across Israel and
caused a rift in the government.
The IDF said that the evacuation of the settlers, who resided in the
house for more than two weeks, was completed "without any unusual
Senior officials in the prime minister´s office said that the
evacuation was carried out after careful coordination between the
defense minister and the prime minister. Nevertheless, Netanyahu´s
aides went on the defensive against right-wing criticism and said
that the prime minister had no choice but to approve the evacuation
out of security and legal consideration.
According to officials in Netanyahu´s office, during the late night
discussion on Tuesday no decisions were made regarding the immediate
evacuation of the house.
However, on Wednesday morning, before the cabinet meeting, Barak met
with Netanyahu and told him that he must evacuate the settlers that
day, an official said.
Barak said in response he will continue to safeguard law and order
by "ensuring the authority of the government over its citizens."
“Attempts to clear up the request permitting the deal and the
legality of the purchase will continue in a professional manner,
without any delays," Barak said. "A situation in which illegal
actions are being taken in order to influence government policy by
creating facts on the ground cannot be allowed.”
Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein (Likud), a supporter of the
settlers, said in an interview with Israel Radio that he “hopes that
the prime minister did not know of the intent to evacuate."
"I heard the prime minister, I spoke with the prime minister, and
these actions have crossed the line," Edelstein said.
According to Edelstein, the evacuation of the settlers should have
been coordinated, and not have come as a surprise carried out by a
special police unit.
"Anything is preferable to the kind of surprise we’re experiencing
right now," he added. "I am calling on the prime minister to put a
stop to this once and for all.”
Earlier on Wednesday, defense officials said that Defense Minister
Ehud Barak and a ministerial committee agreed that the house will be
evacuated by April 26.
Disagreements whether to evacuate the settlers caused a fiery debate
inside the government.
Ya’alon, who participated in the special ministerial meeting on
Tuesday night, criticized Barak´s decision and said that authority
over issues regarding Judea and Samaria settlements must be taken
away from Barak, and given to a committee of ministers. “Barak is not
solving any problems or signing any urban building plans.”
“Ehud Barak is acting against the government and against the
settlements in Judea and Samaria, all that he is doing is fanning the
flames,” Ya´alon said Wednesday during a closed discussion.
"It is imperative to check that the settler’s documents of sale are
not counterfeit. If it turns out that they are in order, the purchase
must be approved and the settlers allowed entry. This is not a
national, or a defense issues, the property rights need to be
checked. Why does the defense minister claim that such a check will
take weeks when it can be done in a few days?”
Defense Minister Ehud Barak fired back at Ya´alon on Wednesday,
claiming that the deputy prime minister is making comments against
him out of political considerations.
“Unfortunately, Minister Ya’alon is combining cheap political
concerns with defense decisions, harming the government’s ability to
protect democracy and law and order," officials close to Barak said.
A senior defense official with knowledge of the details of the
meeting explained that a decision was reached to evacuate the house
if in fact it has been occupied illegally, considering the fact that
settlers entered the house without the proper permits from the Civil
Administration. (© Copyright 2012 Ha´aretz 04/05/12)
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