mobs of people
Destruction, Water Cut-Off Thwarted at Hilltop Community
(IsraelNN.com) Security forces and Civil Administration bulldozers and heavy equipment converged on the hilltop community Eish Kodesh, 20 miles north of Jerusalem, adjacent to Shilo Wednesday morning, targeting a water tower and several homes being constructed there. They were rebuffed by activists and later forced to restore water supplies by the Defense Ministry.
According to resident Bnaya Ze'ev, a shipping container was confiscated and the community's water tower was emptied with the aim of removing it as masses of activists flocked toward the community.
"Apparently, instead of turning off the water to Gaza, where rockets are being fired from daily, the government has sent them to cut us off instead," he told Arutz-7.
Residents called upon the public to protect the permanent homes being built at the mixed religious-secular community. The construction cost residents over 200,000 shekels so far and has come out of pocket as mortgages are not available for communities considered unauthorized by the government.
After more and more people arrived and the Amana settlement movement reportedly filed for a stay in court, the security forces backed down - leaving with the bulldozers.
Eish Kodesh (Holy Fire) is named after Eish-Kodesh Gilmor who was murdered by Arab terrorists at the start of the Oslo War, in October 2000.
Yesha Council Deal?
Shortly before the destruction began, state-run Israel Radio reported that the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria (Yesha) and the government have agreed to "relocate" 26 unauthorized hilltop communities that the government committed to destroy under the US-backed Road Map.
According to the report, the Yesha Council has agreed to the destruction of the 26 communities, which include the large Migron hilltop, following a promise by the Defense Ministry to allow new communities to be built in Judea and Samaria within the route of the Partition Wall. Yesha Council official Pinchas Wallerstein was quoted by NFC News as doubting that the government is capable or willing to actually keep its end of the deal.
According to Peace Now, which claims there are many more than 26 communities established after former PM Ariel Sharon rose to power (the date according to the Road Map after which new communities are considered "unauthorized"), the Defense Ministry does not list Eish Kodesh at one of the 26.
The communities that are on the list are: Avigayil (in Mt. Hevron region), Bat Ayin West West (in Gush Etzion, already destroyed), Hill 725 (Yitzhar South, in northern Samaria), Givat Assaf (overlooking major Beit El intersection), Givat Sal'it (in Jordan Valley), Ginot Aryeh (near Ofra, destroyed already), Red House (Adei Ad North, near Shilo), Givat HaRoeh (near Eli), Havat Gilad (in Samaria), Havat Ya'ir (in Binyamin), Havat Shaked (near Yitzhar), Hazon David (Tent synagogue between Kiryat Arba and Hevron), Tal Binyamin (at site of murder of Rabbi Binyamin Ze'ev Kahane and his wife Talia), Yatir Southwest (in Mt. Hevron region), Migron (overlooking Highway 60 in Binyamin), Mul Nevo (Havat Orna), Maaleh Rechavam (in eastern Gush Etzion), Mitzpeh Yitzhar, Mitzpeh Lachish, Mevo Horon Agricultural Farm (along Highway 443 Jerusalem-Modi'in Highway), Sde Boaz (in Gush Etzion), Nofei Nechemia (near Ariel), Sussia Northwest (in Mt. Hevron region), Assa'el, Ramat Gilad, Sde Calev (south of Kiryat Arba) and Tekoa D (between Tekoa and the Judean Desert, in eastern Gush Etzion).
The Yesha Council insists that the destruction at Eish Kodesh runs counter to all agreements it has with the security forces and condemned the cutting off of water to the community. "We view the police behavior with severity," Yesha Council official Moti Yogev said. "Nowhere do the police cut a community off from water in such an irresponsible manner, even in Gaza. It seems the IDF Civil administration is seeking conflict. If they didn't like the placement of the water tower they could inform us and we know how to move it ten meters this way or that - but to leave a community without water?!"
The council stressed that it only agreed to "move some" of the 26 communities.
Defense Ministry Later Orders Water Restored
The Defense Ministry ordered that water supplies be restored to the hilltop community of Eish Kadosh later Wednesday, after increased protest from MKs and officials. According to state-run Israel Radio, the community is recognized by the government, but the water tower was located in an area the government considers outside of permitted borders.
Click here for photos from Eish Kodesh taken by a local photographer prior to the destruction.