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Monday, March 26, 2007

Deja vu all over again in the northern Shomron

A group of Jews has vowed to return to and re-settle Homesh in northern Samaria. Homesh is one of the towns whose Jews were expelled by the Sharon government in August 2005. This is from an anonymous email I got:
On Monday -- back to the Northern Shomron!!

"When the black-uniformed Deportation Forces dumped us in busses and as we saw the houses of our yishuv getting further and further away , even then, we saw the most horrible sight imaginable: hundreds of Arabs dancing near our yishuv, with PLO and Hizbullah flags in their hands. We swore at that time, that we would not rest until we return to our homes ."
-- Yossi Dagan, one of the Jews deported from Northern Shomron

This coming Monday, 26 March (7 Nisan), 30 families will be returning to Chomesh in the Northern Shomron. In order to ensure their success in actually getting there and in overcoming negative media, it is VERY VERY IMPORTANT for many ordinary people to come along with them. So -- it's offical. You are hereby cordially invited to Chomesh on Monday!

Busses cost 20 NIS and are leaving from the following locations (but you MUST register - otherwise you may find a full bus when you get there)

Petah Tikva: 12 noon from the Iriya. Register with Yonatan, gormezan@zahav.net.il or 0523527313.

Rehovot: 11:30 AM from Herzl corner of Yaakov. Register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Raanana: 12 noon from Yad laBanim. Register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Jerusalem: 12 noon from Binyanei haUma, register with Yedidia, 0526302222.

Haifa, Zichron, Hadera: 11 AM from Checkpost junction and Kiryat Shmuel. Register with Shlomo, 0522366555.

Kiryat Shmona, Golan, Rosh Pina, Safad: Register with Shaul, 0526070117.

Tsomet Golani, Tiberias & Afula: Register with Miriam 0524370629.

Nahariya, Acco, Krayot: Register with Yehiam, 0548035448

Other locations: For 10 people and over, call 0526302222 by SUNDAY MORNING and we will arrange a ride for your group!

Missed your bus? It's easy to use public transport. Get to Netanya, then take Bus 73 to Shavei Shomron from which you will walk to Chomesh with everyone else. For details -- Egged *2800 or 03-6948888 or www.egged.co.il.

Coming by car? Drive to Shavei Shomron or Einav. Can't get there? Park at the main parking lot of Karnei Shomron and try and get a "tremp" from someone (ask at the gate).

Staying for several days? Bring warm clothes and preferably night gear. Bring food and water for at least a day or two.

Working on Tuesday -- or need to get home same day for any other reason? Use public transport to get home. Return from Homesh to Shavei Shomron or Kdumim first: simply ask the sadranim or other marchers where you might find a group or car going back. Then, take an Egged or Dan bus to wherever you want to go. From Shavei Shomron to Netanya at 3:15 PM or 5:35 PM or 7:15 PM or 8:05 PM (Egged, 03-6948888). Or, take Egged from Kdumim to Jerusalem -- at 3:45 PM ONLY. Or, go from Kdumim to Tsomet Raanana at 3:55 PM, 5:15 PM, 7:05 PM, 8:15 PM or 9:10 PM using a Dan bus 03-6394444). Or, go to the gate of Shavei Shomron and try your luck at getting a "tremp" to somewhere close to home!

*Special note: If you have 30 people who are coming with you and want to return home the same day, call Yedidia by SATURDAY NIGHT and he will arrange a special vehicle just for your group, there and back.

Little kids? They are welcome. Bring stuff for them to do including tape, colored pens and paper to decorate Shavei Shomron with appropriate signs -- or little candies or flowers for them to give out to the 30 families and other marchers. Also, bring plastic bags so they can collect nature specimens in this beautiful part of the country. That way, they can stay busy and happy in Shavei Shomron (which has playgrounds...) if they're tired or very young. Or, if they feel up to it when you get to Shavei, they can go to Chomesh together with everybody else. Remember that you go to Chomesh ONLY in organized groups with the appropriate security measures, not all by yourself.

Security problem? Legal problem? Call the Security Hotline at 050-9152277 or 050-9162277 or the Legal Aid Hotline at 1599-504020.

See you on Monday, have a great time everybody! from MATTOT ARIM

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Now as you might imagine, the government is not taking this lying down. In fact, they are threatening Amona-like violence, two year jail terms and imposing costs of their operation on the people they catch.
The Israel Defense Forces and police will invest only limited effort in preventing right-wing activists from marching Monday on the ruins of the former West Bank settlement Homesh, but warned that protesters would be evacuated by force if they tried to resettle the area.

Security forces estimate that they will be outnumbered by about three times the number of protesters expected to participate in the march on the former northern West Bank settlement, which was evacuated as part of the disengagement in 2005.

The IDF believes that at least 5,000 people will participate in the march, but only 1,000 policemen and Border Policemen and 500 IDF soldiers will try to block access to the site. With this ratio, the IDF knows the chances of completely blocking all the participants from reaching Homesh are slim.


Settlers planning to march said Sunday that they had reached a "security understanding" with officers during the meeting.

According to the organizers, the understanding with the security forces follows IDF warnings that if the roads to Homesh is blocked, the settlers would be forced to make detours through Arab villages, some of which are hostile. Fearing this scenario, said the organizers, the IDF decided to allow the protest march.

However, the IDF on Saturday warned settlers not to execute their plan, and notified them that the penalty for resettling an area evacuated in the disengagement is two years incarceration. The police also sent a warning letter to the organizers of the operation.

The IDF asked the organizers of the operation, called 'Homesh First' to promise not to stay in the former settlement permanently. Organizers have refused to make this commitment.

Military sources deny having reached an agreement with the organizers. The IDF said its primary goal is to avoid the resettlement of Homesh, and said an effort would be made to block the marchers' way before they reach the site. Nevertheless, the army is taking into account the possibility that a few activists will infiltrate the area.


IDF sources have stated that the army and the police will do everything possible to prevent the founding of an outpost on the ruins of Homesh, but have expressed doubt if it will possible to do so, as the ruins of Homesh are not fenced-off or closed.

The army on Saturday warned settlers intending to return to the Homesh area to abandon their plans to try to rebuild the settlement saying that the punishment under law for anyone who enters territories evacuated under the Gaza Disengagement and attempts to resettle the area is two years imprisonment.

"In view of media reports that Israeli citizens intend to enter the area of the evacuated settlement Homesh during the Passover holiday in order to reestablish the community," the warning said, "the IDF and the Israel Police wish to emphasize that the law enabling the disengagement bans Israeli citizens from entering and staying in the area without permission."

The army warned that "all means necessary to preserve law and order in the area" would be employed and that anyone violating the law is subject to consequences.

The police have also released a warning to organizers of the Homesh event saying that in addition to criminal charges, event organizers and participators could be subject to paying punitive damages to the state for costs accrued by security services as a result of the event.
The Jerusalem Post adds that the IDF is apparently taking this personally:
Security sources said they hoped the event would not turn violent but that they were prepared to use force to uphold the law. In February 2006, close to 300 people were injured in clashes between police and right-wing activists at the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona.

"We will do everything possible to prevent the events of Amona from recurring," a police source said. "But the organizers should know that violence against security forces will not be tolerated."

According to the current plan, the IDF will encircle the hilltop to try to prevent the marchers from reaching the area, and police will be responsible for evacuating activists who succeed in reaching the settlement ruins. A number of roadblocks will be set up in the area to prevent access to Homesh.

IDF sources slammed event organizers, saying that the military and police would have to divert "precious resources" from training and anti-terror operations to deal with the illegal march.

"Soldiers who need to be in training are going to have to instead deal with these right-wing activists who are breaking the law," an officer said. "Especially following the Lebanon war, we would have expected the organizers to understand that our time and resources are precious."
YNet reports that "several hundred right-wing activists have already arrived at nearby settlements, where they plan to spend the night and then head for Homesh in the morning." Sounds like tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Update 12:41 AM

I just got the following anonymous email:
The IDF gave their OK this evening -- see you in Northern Shomron tomorrow!!

VERY GOOD NEWS!! The army has OKed the event at Chomesh tomorrow -- this was publicized via Kol Yisrael this evening. This is a very important step that the army has taken toward us. Remember only a day or two ago all the media had been told that the army was so opposed that they were even threatening to sue all the participants!! However -- the army's important decision MUST be reciprocated by excellent participation at our end. While we are pleased to report busses filling up at all locations we ask that you please take heart from the army's positive decision and simply come. To do so please register IMMEDIATELY by phone (see below) if you have not yet done so. If you are told the bus is full simply ask to be put on stand-by. See you all tomorrow, here are the particulars again. Good luck to all and nesia tova from MATTOT ARIM.


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