12 More Israelis Banished From Their Homes

Akiva HaCohen (right) with his wife and four children. HaCohen was banished along with 11 others last August.

(Jan. 3, ’12) This morning once again the Israeli government used undemocratic methods of dealing with the Jews residing in Judea and Samaria. In normal democratic countries people are brought to trial and punished based on evidence. Today 12 Jews, including one minor, were served with administrative restraining orders banishing them from their homes, communities and all areas beyond Israel’s 1967 Green Line. In cases such as these, the defendants have no way to challenge the evidence against them since they are not allowed to see it. These orders were given for 3 -9 months but many times they are extended for longer periods. Ministry of Justice representative Attorney Karen Dahari openly admitted nationalist activists had been systematically targeted. “There is a phenomenon of violence in Judea and Samaria,” Dahari told the Knesset Law and Justice Committee, “We have a problem obtaining evidence and therefore we use distancing and administrative orders.”

Hebrew graffiti inside a mosque near Ramallah

The Netanyahu government has been under pressure by the media and other left-wing groups to solve the phenomenon of grafitti writing and torching of a few mosques. Dozens of Jews were arrested and incarcerated for several days and some of them weeks. Honenu, Israel’s Legal Defense Organization came to defend each of them. They were all released due to a lack of evidence.

It became so absurd that one veteran investigative reporter suspects the Shabak (Israel’s Secret Service) actually committed those acts. “How does a kid sneak into an Arab village, spray graffiti on a mosque, take a picture and get it to hundreds of media outlets in 20 minutes? This is a professional job”, he declared. One Jerusalem Post article quoted an Arab from the village who said he thought it was Arabs who did it.

Several weeks ago, police forces arrived to demolish several structures in the neighborhood of Ramat Gilad. Ro’i Ridar, active with the Binyamin Regional Council, organized a bus to transport protesters to the site. Yesterday, he was arrested for his efforts. Incredulously, fourteen residents from the area were charged with espionage for text messaging their neighbors that soldiers and border police were coming to demolish homes and please come to protest. Spying is a serious crime whose punishment is years in jail. Honenu has come to their defense.

These continuing government antics are not holding up in court. Therefore, the latest official strategy is issuing expulsion orders and thereby avoiding the court system entirely.

MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) spoke at the Knesset session on law enforcement in Judea and Samaria. “I recommend the law enforcement system reconsider. Accusing people of espionage is scandalous. How can the police be arresting people without indictments? This is unthinkable. It is hatred and persecution against the residents of Judea and Samaria.”

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