Thursday, September 11, 2008

YeshaCouncil Castigates B'Tselem

The Yesha Council attacks the latest report by Israel's radical left-wing B'Tselem organization, which calls for the eviction of all Jews from Yesha. The report, released this morning, states that "settlers" took over tens of thousands of dunams (one dunam = 1/4 acre) from "Palestinian areas." The report also accuses Israel of blocking Arab access to lands around Jewish towns.

The Yesha Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria responded sharply: "B'Tselem's objective is solely to expel the 300,000 Jews of Judea and Samaria, and to this end it is willing to lie, deceive and incite."

"This report, even more than its predecessors, reveals B'Tselem to be a nationalistic Palestinian group camouflaged as a civil rights organization," the Yesha Council stated. "This time, they go so far as to demand an end to the security measures decided upon by the IDF around the Jewish towns - even though B'Tselem knows that this will make it easier to murder Jews."

B'Tselem says the settlers use violence to take over Arab lands, sometimes with the protection of army forces. Cases like the recent house arrest and expulsion of three residents of Asael, which appear to belie these claims, were not mentioned in the report.

B'Tselem does note the Israelis' security concerns, mentioning that 31 Jews were murdered, and many more were wounded, in the settlements between 2002 and 2004. It then proceeds to say that the entire Yesha settlement enterprise must be destroyed: "Since it is illegal, Israel must empty out all the settlements... All security actions must be taken in the framework of a process to evict all the settlers and return them to Israel."

Orit Strook, who heads the Hevron-based Yesha Civil Rights Organization, said, "This report, like others by B'Tselem, calls for ethnic cleansing. A group making this call cannot call itself a civil rights organization."

"The report ignores the Jews' most basic right," Strook said, "namely, the right to live."


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