Guest Post by Joseph Dana aka Ibn Ezra

Yesterday, members of Ta’ayush set out to have a picnic at an illegal outpost unrecognized by the Israeli authorities next to the settlement of Susya in the southern West Bank. A picnic seemed like a beautiful form of protest to show the IDF’s double standard in the West Bank – they protect Israeli settlers taking Palestinian land, while arresting others with more peaceful pursuits.

Susya is divided into three places; Palestinian Susya, Jewish settlement Susya and archaeological site Susya. Often, the first construction of an illegal outpost is a synagogue which the IDF is less willing to destroy. About one year ago settlers from Susya built a synagogue on the privately owned land of a local Palestinian. The area is known as Flag Hill (Givat HaDegal). Within weeks, the settlers had laid a foundation for one house and sure enough today a house now stands on Flag Hill. The IDF actively protects the house despite there being no full time inhabitants.

We encountered problems before we even arrived at the outpost. A minibus of Ta’ayush activists was stopped at the main checkpoint separating Jerusalem and the southern West Bank. Soldiers asked for our ID cards and without a stated reason held us at the checkpoint for over an hour. Presumably, they were requesting an order from a high commander that would bar us entry to the West Bank, efficiently denying us freedom of movement because we were engaged in left wing actions. This order never came. The commander at the checkpoint wrote down our names and ID numbers while informing us that we were not allowed to enter the south West Bank and if we were found to be in a “military area” we would be detained for 48 hours. This, of course, was a lie as he had no authority to issue such a statement and it was not put in writing. He was trying to frighten us which he failed to achieve. We entered through another checkpoint and eventually made our way to the picnic.

Ta’ayush has been monitoring the expansion of Flag Hill and yesterday decided to have a peaceful picnic in protest of the Army’s active participation in maintaining this outpost. We were a group of Jewish Israelis invited by the Palestinian land owner to have a picnic on his land. We thought, by all accounts, we had every right to be there. As we walked up the hill to the outpost, five or six IDF soldiers came to greet us. Without an order from a commander, they could do nothing so we continued and set up our picnic complete with hummus, watermelon and homemade pita from the land owner. A commander arrived within minutes and pronounced the area a closed military zone ordering us to leave within five minutes or face arrest. We continued to enjoy the picnic as the Army began arresting people, going after Ezra Nawi first.

The IDF arrested three people and removed the rest of us, over 20 people, from the hilltop. We returned to the land owner’s home and waited for word from those arrested. They were driven to a checkpoint about 15 minutes away from Susya and simply dropped off. One of those arrested told me that he was saying to the soldiers, “you are showing me that you broke the law and not me. If I did something wrong arrest me! Take me to a judge. But you are unwilling because I did nothing wrong and you did”

About the author

ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

36 Comments

  • … except that the land was legally purchased by the family of Gilad Zar, and after years in court the Palis have yet to prove otherwise.

    Nice try, though…

  • thanks for putting Joseph Dana video on ur site. I underestimated you brother.. I bet you cringed at brother loool… -_- thanks again!!

  • I go with Ta’ayush sometimes and know Nassar of Susya well. Ben David claim is 100% false and Nassar has all the records to prove it.

    Just a lie to divert attention.

  • I don’t know the details of this incident – but I have been involved in many cases in which the land was either purchased privately, or the Ministry of Defense compensated owners for taking privately owned land, and the former owners denied the sale, compensation, etc. etc. By and large, the reason is, that they cannot admit to their neighbors that they sold to Jews, or that they accepted Jewish money for land at all.

    So I do not know the details in this case – and will not comment on it, but I am very suspicious of disputed claims of ownership (see sale in Hebron, which was commenced, but not “approved” by the Minister of Defense).

    This is not a tolerant society – this is one that has a death penalty for sale of land to those with whom they are “processing peace.”

  • in many cases the land is taken via an ottoman rule called state land. Basically, if the land is not worked for a certain period of time then the government has the right to take.

    what happens is that the settlements have zone in which no Palestinian can enter for security reasons. The settlers often lobby the IDF to make these area includes places that outposts will be formed. basically giving a vale of legality to what is an illegal act.

    this outpost according to the land owner, the iDF and the settlers is not on state land. The land owner HAS the records stamped by Israeli officials stating that the land is his.

    why is it so hard to acknowledge an illegal outpost for what it is?

  • yoav – Yes, if the lands is left unclaimed for, I believe, 5 years – it is taken by the state in order to determine ownership – but – it is not approved for any other use until 10 years have passed. After that it is state land, and here is where you leave out the important part – unless someone shows up with proof of ownership, in which case, the owner gets his land back, or receives monetary compensation for it..

  • LB. the information you have is flatly wrong. I can send you supreme court cases about the ruling but they are in Hebrew. If you read Hebrew go to the website of Yesh Din and have a look.

  • LB

    go an spend sometime in the west bank and talk with the villagers about their experience with land. look at the maps that peace now and btselem puts out. talk with Israeli officials about the situation. your words are reflective of a ‘fantasy land’ understanding of life in the West Bank. Even settlers understand what the deal is out there

  • yoav – you’ve now called me a liar, and assumed incorrectly that I have never been there, or know the facts on the ground. If you want to make a point, respect the people you’re taking to.

    I have already, here, gone through how Peace Now’s accusation and percentages of private vs. “stolen” land are blatantly wrong. I know “what the deal is out there.” If you start out by denigrating the person you’re taking to, you’re going to get nowhere fast.

    I’ll look at the link. The information I have given comes straight from יועמ”ש איו”ש. My understand is first-hand. And if you continue insulting me, I have nothing more to say to you.

  • LB
    again your skill in debate is on display as it is not peace now that is writing, they are only reposting it.

    It comes from the PMO of the state of Israel. I suppose that is not a valid source is it?

    enjoy fantasy land.

  • by the way, LB. I said that your information ws “flatly wrong” I did not call you a liar but maybe to be called wrong with facts to back up the statement is considered to be an attack….

  • yoav – you continue to insult me, nevertheless:

    1. I hadn’t had a chance to look at your link before you decided that I was debating Peace Now or the PMO.

    2. You claimed you had supreme court decisions – this is the 343 page interim Sasson Report, not a Supreme Court decision.

    3. The Sasson report is about outposts overall – yet, I did not say anything about outposts in general, only about the process in which land becomes “state land.”

    I did not read it word for word, of course, but here is what is relevant, and does not contradict what I said:

    קרקעות שהן אדמות מדינה – הכוונה לקרקעות שהן רכוש ממשלתי הידועות בשם אדמות מדינה.
    מדובר בקרקעות שנרשמו על שם ירדן או רשות מרשויותיה בתקופת השלטון הירדני באיו”ש. בנוסף
    לקרקעות אלה יש להכליל במינוח “קרקעות מדינה” גם את אלה:
    קרקע שהוכרזה כאדמות מדינה בתקופת השליטה הישראלית באיו”ש; וכן קרקעות שנוהלו על ידי
    האפוטרופוס הירדני לנכסי אוייב, כמו אדמות יהודים.
    “אדמות יהודים” – קרקעות שנרכשו לפני שנת 1948 על ידי מי שהפכו לישראלים לאחר הקמת
    המדינה, ובשנים 1948 עד 1967 הן נוהלו על ידי האפוטרופוס הירדני לנכסי אוייב. בשנת 1967 הן
    עברו לניהול הממונה על הרכוש הנטוש. מבחינת תחיקת הביטחון הן נחשבות כרכוש ממשלתי. קרי – הן
    נחשבות אדמות מדינה.
    קרקעות נוספות שלצורך ההתיישבות הישראלית באיו”ש מתייחסים אליהן כקרקע שניתן להקים עליה
    התיישבות ישראלית, בדומה לקרקעות מדינה:
    קרקעות שבעליהן ביקש מהממונה על הרכוש הממשלתי והנטוש לנהלן, והוא הסכים לעשות כן;

    Does it say anything there about abandoned land “grabbed” by the state? No. If the report does – find that quote, and don’t link to another few hundred pages.

    So you sent me to read a 343pp report on something other than what I commented on. Nice. Find a Supreme Court case, like you said you had – and I’ll look it. Continue to enjoy your seeping hatred.

  • Good, this is a worthwhile debate.

    Yoav, instead of calling people names you will find that we have an educated, sophisticated group of skeptical people here. You can provide us with all the links you want in any language but please try not to provide only links to groups with an inherent bias. Just as I wouldn’t blindly trust a source from Yesha, I also don’t blindly trust B’Tzelem or Peace Now. Agendas have a way of misdirecting facts to suit their objectives.

  • As an Israeli soldier who has served in this area, and will be returning to this area in the very near future, I find this whole escapade and post to be very disrespectful to my friends and I who are serving in the West Bank. Forget about who is right or wrong in this issue, it is irrelevant, the fact is that these boys who are serving there are only following their orders in what they are doing. Do people think that we like doing things like that, taking peaceful protesters and forcibly ejecting them, of course not. We are simply doing our jobs as soldiers following orders from our commanders. I personally do not love serving in the West Bank and I am sure that there are many others like me, but that does not matter, we have our orders and we will follow them. Please don’t blame the IDF and her soldiers for what happened here or in other similar incidents, we are simply doing our jobs, as unpleasant as it might be. That is not to say we do not have a conscience, but nevertheless, at the end of the day we have a job to do. If you have a gripe, it obviously shouldn’t be with the soldiers on the ground, we do not set policy, complain about/to the people above.

  • Zack, Thank you for your comment – we are trying to stir debate and discussion and mean in no way by hosting this to insult you or other soldiers serving.

  • Joseph Dana is not good for the Jews.

    CK you are a few days behind Mondolies on both these posts.

  • I do not agree with what Joseph Dana writes here but I do not see how it is offensive to soldiers? Where does he attack soldiers in this post?

    they are doing their jobs and it looks like he is attacking the state for having him do that job.

  • Yoni C: Behind what? Why are you even reading that Mondo nudnik? I’m just interested in the rule of law is all. I wholeheartedly support the IDF, I note that there is evidence of a Jewish presence in Susiya dating from the 1st Century CE etc. and that the entire area lies in Area C which is under complete control of the IDF. So what’s going on there? Dana has his perspective of course and I’d love to hear other voices. But try to be civil y’all.

  • They posted these videos a few days ago. Sorry CK, but civility is not my strong suit. You should have seen me before i started reading Jewlicious!

    Joseph and his cohort Max Blumenthal only create more hatred from a group of ppl (Mondolies reader type) who already think we are savages for loving the State of Israel. There is no balanced debate amongst there crowd.

    I know of your dedication to the IDF/Israel I wasn’t questioning any of that, or even letting Dana guest post. I was simply stating that I don’t think he is good for Jews.

  • Wait a minute! This is the Joseph Dana who made that idiotic video about the drunk students and then spread it all over the internet with the explanation that they are representative of what “Obama is up against?”

    Why are we enhancing his credibility after that fiasco?

  • Middle,

    In addressing Yoav, you made a couple of statements I’m extremely curious about. Specifically, you state that,

    “You can provide us with all the links you want in any language but please try not to provide only links to groups with an inherent bias.”

    First, which are the groups you suggest linking to that have no “inherent bias,” as opposed to Peace Now, B’Tzelem, and the many other comparable groups whose bias you’ve denounced repeatedly in the past?

    Also, what distinguishes the groups that are “biased” from those that aren’t? (And, likewise, those that have an “agenda” from those that don’t.) Does the distinction rest on something more substantial than the difference between those groups you agree with and those you reject?

  • Well David, there are very few organizations or groups that I would consider apolitical when it comes to this conflict. That is why I don’t trust them whether they are on the right or the left of the spectrum. I am especially leery of organizations that are political in nature, answer to no-one and simply earn their kudos becasuse they purportedly mean well. B’Tzelem is a perfect example of this phenomenon.

    By the way, I have not repeatedly “denounced” Peace Now in the past, that statement would apply to B’Tselem. With Peace Now, I tend to advocate some caution with their reports unless they are targeting issues related to the territories where I do believe their agenda blinds them.

    I suspect that the only time I trust a report that comes out about that region is either when it comes from an independent commission appointed WITHOUT wheeling and dealing by Israel itself (in other words, the commission that investigated Sabra and Shatila passes and the commission that investigated Lebanon II does not) or its judiciary and when the report that I am reading or academic article provides the primary sources I require to double-check their assertions and their context. Thus, for example, I trust Michael Oren almost implicitly because I find that it is hard for me to find ways to challenge the information he provides, but I shake my head at some of the sourcing and context, not to mention conclusions of Walt & Mearsheimer.

    Is that substantial enough for you, David?

  • tm, i dont see how you can be so suspicious of B’tselem & Peace Now while at the same time treating CAMERA as bias-free & agenda-less

  • Is that substantial enough for you, David?

    Frankly, no. You didn’t answer the question. At all.

    Now, I’m not going to presume as much as Xisnotx does – i.e., that you regard CAMERA as lacking in either bias or an agenda – but that does, indeed, go to the crux of the matter. Do you, in fact, regard CAMERA as being any less biased or agenda-driven then Peace Now or B’Tselem? Do you, for that matter, regard yourself as being any less biased and agenda-driven?

    The point, once again, is that every single time you reject the views of those you categorize as “extreme leftists” in some form or other, it rests on the assertion of “bias” (or even, as here, “inherent bias”) on their part, or the part of the sources they cite. Accordingly, let me ask you once again: which are the sources of information about Israel – (in other words, NAME THEM) – that someone can rely upon to form an opinion about the Arab-Israeli dispute that are free from the biases and agendas you consistently attribute to those you characterize as extremists?

  • I treat CAMERA with no less skepticism than I reserve for groups that attack Israel and its policies. CAMERA often prvides sources for its information so it’s possible to track what they say and I’m careful to use information that I can trust or, when I can’t prove it, I state that it may be questionable data.

  • Um David, I did answer you in detail.

    I don’t know why you expect me to name names. I generally go to original sources and try to learn from them whatever I can. I try to find sections of history books and glean what I can from several sources so that I can build my own theory of what happened. Likewise with international law, UN resolutions, etc. When it’s things like the number of dead Palestinians who are combatants, I trust nobody and often find my number in the center of the two sides’ difference.

    If I’m reading a historian, I try to figure out why he’s saying what he’s saying. Is it conjecture, is it bias, is it well sourced, etc. I try to read what others say about this issue and form my opinion. Do I want Avi Shlaim to define Jabotinsky for me or can I find Jabotinsky’s own writing somewhere to shed light on the question. What do other researchers read into Jabotinsky in contrast with Shlaim? What actually happened, regardless of how Jabotinsky is defined?

    I really like Michael Oren. I like the Jerusalem Post. I like Haaretz when it’s not Gideon Levy or Amira Hass. I like MEMRI videos because I can see the person say what he says. I like Khalil Shikaki and his surveys. I like MEForum because they often have accurate rporting or access to original documents.

    As for my own biases and agenda, I battle with myself all the time not to let them get in the way of my information gathering. I’m sure they influence my conclusions to some degree but I always try to be accurate or at least have integrity in my reporting and in the views I express. I also try to be consistent and fight with myself when my opinions change to understand why.

    Unlike CAMERA or B’Tzelem, I am not out there raising funds or drumming up support. I don’t get influenced by Palestinian or Jewish advocates who make up my “supporters,” etc. So I have nobody to answer to and I believe my writing reflects that. I DO read both B’Tzelem and CAMERA, however, believing that each is important in its own way and understanding how they view a topic may be educational or useful for me.

  • … so we’re up to comment 35 and the left-wingers have:

    – led with ad-hominem attacks of those who disagree with them

    -boldly claimed that there’s “lots” of evidence from impartial sources like court cases – and then not produced anything but agenda-driven reports by biased NGOs

    -ruffled their self-righteous feathers when this is pointed out

    -derailed the discussion with a distraction about what constitutes a “reliable source” – as if there ever was any doubt that Peace Now has a clear agenda, and has been caught bending facts before.

    -covered their retreat with more ad-hominem attacks.

    In other words – the same old pattern of PC pseudo-fact and self-righteous umbrage.

    We could be discussing Obama or global warming. It’s always the same moves:

    Narcissistic condescension
    Leading to
    verbal violence against “apostates”
    Covered by
    misdirection and personalization of the issue.

    HEY YOAV YOU FATHEAD – we’re still waiting for all those court cases. The Justice Ministry archive is online.

    Don’t worry, mameleh – I can read Hebrew.

  • I haven’t been here for a while! Hello CK! 🙂

    Its amazing that the comments are an empty wilderness without any serious Jewish responses. Even the the defender’s of Israel seem just to be apologists!

    The fact is that there is a real war about the land of Israel going on. These scuffles are just symptoms. The question is whose land is it? Is it Jewish land given by our G-d to us or is it Arab land?

    The ‘picnicers’ are intend on having Israel, our land, given to our enemies the same enemies with nazi carricatures of Jews in their schoolbooks who cheer Ahmadinejad.

    The Jewish army should protect Jews in Israel and support our rights to Israel. They should not support these ‘picnicers’ and their agenda of taking our country away from us.

    That is the way to look at it – don’t ignore the fundamental fight and focus on irrelevant details.

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