That's what I thought of when I read about the young community of Haraisha.
Last week,on our Women in Green chizuk trip to the Shomron and Binyamin outposts ,we went, among other places, to Hareisha and heard the mind boggling story of this great community in danger of having its houses demolished because of "Peace Now".
Thank you to our dear friend Timna Katz for writing the story of Haraisha in English.
With love for Israel ,
Nadia Matar - Yehudit Katzover
Haraisha was established in 5749 (1999) during the last days of Netanyahu’s first tenure as prime minister. With the help of the Binyamin Local Council under the leadership of Pinchas Wallerstein and his successor Avi Roeh as well as residents of the nearby yishuvim of Talmon and Neria under the leadership of Rav Daniel Hershkovitz, the initial garin of Mercaz HaRav graduates struck roots. Today the community numbers over 40 families.
The families were originally housed in caravans. After some years the Housing Ministry began developing the permanent infrustructure for the yishuv, including laying the groundwork for permanent housing. The investment of the Housing Ministry was supplemented by the support of other governmental offices and ministries, including the Defense Ministry, who appreciated Haraisha’s strategic importance overlooking Ramallah to the south and east and all of Gush Dan to the west.
Once the Housing Ministry had laid the groundwork for the permanent housing, the families invested their private funds to build their homes. Like almost everywhere in the country where ownership of land is not private, the final permits weren’t obtained before construction began. As is typical throughout Israel , the eight houses were built with the expectation that the final permits would be granted at the end of the long bureaucratic process. As is also typical, the Civil Administration automatically issued destruction orders on the buildings, which are then retroactively cancelled once the approval process is completed.
Peace Now Gets Involved
Peace Now discovered this technicality and turned it into a weapon in its war against the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria . It initiated a continual and ongoing campaign to have the “illegal dwellings” throughout Judea and Samaria destroyed. And it found an eager and willing partner in the Israeli Supreme Court. About four years ago, Peace Now filed a petition to force the state to execute the destruction orders pending on the permanent houses in Haraisha. The State responded to Peace Now’s appeal with weak equivocation. True, it asserted, the houses are illegal, but it isn’t high on the State’s list of priorities to destroy them for many and varied reasons. . . . It was the same answer that the State gave to Haraisha’s identical appeal against illegal Arab building in the neighboring village.
And wonder of wonders, the Supreme Court accepted the State’s position regarding the Arab building, but not the Jewish building. On July 7, 2009, the Supreme Court issued a precedential decision to intervene in the State’s manangment of state-owned lands by ordering it to set a time for the evacuation of the families and the destruction of their homes within four months.
The decision’s blatant discrimination in favor of Arab defendants and against Jewish ones is yet another stone in the long road the Supreme Court and its Leftist collaborators have paved leading the State along their preferred political path against the will of the people and their elected representatives.
A Simple Solution
There is a simple solution that would frustrate the fond wishes of Peace Now: the signature of the Defense Minister as the final remaining step in the long approval process for the yishuv. This is a simple procedural step since the land on which the yishuv is built is “adamot sekker”, ‘surveyed’ land that becomes state land when there are no private claimants to ownership. The land upon which Haraisha sits is indeed uncontested. Unfortunately, Defense Minister Ehud Barak shares the goals of Peace Now and is unwilling to affix his signature due to political considerations.
How is this struggle different from other struggles? The nationalist public has become very familiar with this drama and its unchanging cast of characters: the vicious and dishonest leftist organizations, the hostile and hypocritical Supreme Court, the dissembling government issuing its doublespeak, the hostile and hypocritical media, and the embattled and noble settlers. The public has also grown weary of the spectacle: because the ending doesn’t vary, it has started to seem like the characters are just going through the motions. Once again, the weak are overcome by the mighty because everyone realizes – especially after Gush Katif – that this is a battle that can’t be won. So the settlers are put in their place by the establishment, but leave the field vowing to fight another day – a cry that rings more and more hollow as the days pass.
Here in Haraisha, we are not weary. We are not shrugging our shoulders and saying, ‘well, what do you expect from the Supreme Court?’ We recognize that the cooperative venture between Peace Now and the Supreme Court will turn into a stealth “disengagement” if left unchallenged and unchecked. We recognize that the small fissure made by the Supreme Court’s decision will turn into a wide canyon through which the heavy bulldozers will roll to dismantle settlement after settlement. We are treating our houses as the House of Israel, Beit Yisrael, and our struggle as the struggle of the Jewish People’s right to their homeland.
Every single member of Haraisha is committed to wage this battle with total determination. We are well organized and we are serious. We will not back down, we will not make deals, and we will not compromise since we will not be on the defensive. While we will use all the tools at our disposal, including traditional lobbying and political pressure tactics, our strategy will be different.
Preventing the Destruction by Attacking the Root Cause
Haraisha has joined hands with the Regavim organization to attack the problem at its root: the hijacking of the Israeli justice system to serve the ends of the Far Left political elite, effectively bypassing the democractic process.
Though the financial cost is onerous (a mere pittance for Peace Now but a staggering sum for us), we intend to file petition after petition demanding that the Supreme Court treat illegal Arab building the same way as “illegal Jewish building.” (In truth, the two are not the same as the Arabs rarely take steps to comply with the law, whereas the Jews do everything in their power to comply.) While the Supreme Court and the media can sweep one or two such cases under the carpet, if the double standard becomes too flagrant and too stark and too public, the matter will come to a head. The Court will either have to stop playing ball with Peace Now or it will lose so much of its legitimacy that the government will be forced to step in and act.
For our legal strategy to be effective, we will need to inform the public about our campaign and to arouse their active support. To this end, we will and are employing traditional lobbying and public relations tactics.
We Need Your Help
1. By being politically active – Anyone with access to people with political influence can help by contacting those people on behalf of Haraisha.
2. Creating a public storm – Pass on the word in whatever way you can: by contacting the media, spreading the message on email lists and internet forums, etc. Even a simple conversation with the people you come in contact with on a daily basis can make a big impact in unexpected ways. Also, please participate in the public events that we will be holding. The perception of widespread public support for our cause has a big influence on politicians.
3. Fundraising – Please contribute to this cause that is the cause of all of us. Ask your families and friends to contribute. If you know of philanthropists who might be willing to help us, please pass on their names. The legal war that we’re embarking on entails significant sums.
4. Share your ideas with us – If you have new ideas or a different angle on how to conduct this struggle, we are happy to hear from you.