Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon: ‘No Security Without Settlements’ – Legally
Israel’s government is “doing many things to promote the settler enterprise,” Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said during meetings with officials and students in Samaria’s Benyamin region this week.
“There is no security without the settlement enterprise. Where there is no settlement enterprise, there is no security,” he told leaders on Tuesday, according to the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
Some analysts saw his words and visit as aimed at “fence-mending” after recent demolitions by the army and security forces of homes of Jewish residents living in contested areas in Judea and Samaria.
Two weeks ago, police evicted several Israelis families and bulldozers leveled their homes and other structures at the small Ma’ale Rehavam outpost in the Gush Etzion region, southeast of Jerusalem.
The state took the move after a High Court ruling in 2011 that the structures were built on private Palestinian Arab land, a charge disputed by residents of the 35 family community.
Several other Jewish villages in northern and central Samaria are set for similar razing, according to activists, who distrust both the army and the government’s promises of support.
Ya’alon’s tour included a visit to the Israel Defense Forces Central Command, and to the Elisha military prep school at Halamish (Neveh Tzuf).
While the final legal status of the school, home to roughly 50 students, is undecided, Ya’alon promised that the matter would be concluded within the next few months.
However, “We have to do it legally,” Ya’alon said, referring to the overall settlement enterprise.
“As someone who supports settlement, I hew to a line that says we must accomplish it according to law.”
Ya’alon also noted his active support for allowing Jews to move into the contested “House of Peace” in Hebron in mid April, and agreeing to classify 1,000 dunams of land in Gush Etzion as state land, allowing it to be used to further Israeli construction and development.