Settler boy stands by tires gathered for a protest against the eviction of the illegal outpost of Ulpana, June 12, 2012. (Photo: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters)
Israel’s largest Zionist youth group has joined the battle over the Ulpana settlement and called for a mass uprising against state regulation over Jewish expansion in the West Bank. Danny Hirschberg, the leader of the far right brigade, Bnei Akiva, called for the group’s 100,000 members to “take to the streets and make your voices heard.”
“No more destruction of homes and settlements in the Land of Israel,” said Hirschberg in a statement reported by Ynet News. Continuing, “No more injustice, immorality, and lack of democracy in the State of Israel. No more fanning the flames of divisiveness and hatred in the Jewish people.”
Hirschberg goes on to say the state has “no reason” to evict the settlers, despite Palestinian landowners already proving valid ownership to an Israeli court. Hirschberg stated, “We don’t have the strength to remain silent in the face of this social and moral injustice perpetrated against dear families who wanted to build homes in the Land of Israel.”
Jewish tourists in a Bnei Akiva military “experience” program.
(Photo: Bnei Akiva)
Under Hirschberg’s tenure as secretary-general for Bnei Akiva, hundreds of Israeli government officials and thousands of tourists have been brought to the occupied Palestinian territories annually. According to Arutz Sheva, earlier this year on Tu Bishvat Hirschberg led four-thousand to plant trees in the West Bank. In addition Bnei Akiva runs one-year hasbara programs for its international members, including a $900.00 military “experience” with Marava, an eight-week army training for Jewish tourists.
Bnei Akiva’s Ulpana endorsement comes after weeks of Benjamin Netanyahu attempting to placate settlers in order to convince them to leave the outpost. Earlier this month the prime minister offered Ulpana 20 temporary mobile homes and promised to build 300 houses in a different neighborhood of the outpost. Despite the appeasement, Ulpana’s residents are not budging. Taking cues from Tel Aviv’s social protest movement, last week settlement supporters established a tent encampment in the settlement, dozens went on hunger strike and hundreds marched from the outpost to Jerusalem.
Although most of the extremists have adhered to non-violent tactics, over the past few days two “price-tag” attacks were carried out. Tagged as “revenge” for Ulpana, on Sunday tires were slashed and graffiti was sprayed in the coexistence village of Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam, and on Monday tires were also slashed in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafut. Also, earlier this week the Times of Israel reported pamphlets with instructions for price-tag actions against the military were found in Ulpana:
The pamphlets, which suggested slashing the tires of military vehicles, filling their gas tanks with sugar and sand, and spray-painting slogans on IDF bases, were written in a sarcastic and pseudo-innocent tone, instructing potential vandals what ‘not’ to do, but actually meaning the opposite.
And Ynet‘s Kobi Nahshoni is also reporting settlers are quietly preparing for an escalated showdown with the army on Ulpana’s July 1st eviction date:
Some on the Right have already designed a plan to fight the evacuation, and activists plan to block the operation by closing roads and throwing Molotov cocktails and paint-filled lightbulbs, as well as by burning tires and barricading themselves inside the homes.
Meanwhile private contractors behind Ulpana’s Palestinian land grab also warn following the government’s evacuation, they plan to rebuild. Head of development Baruch Gordon said to the Jewish Press, “If the state prosecution wants to dictate to us, we will build ten houses for every one you are taking down.”