Ramat Gilad is an “outpost” near the
settlement town of Karnei Shomron in the Shomron (Samaria). There has been a concerted effort over the years by the left to have it destroyed on the tenuous grounds that it is an illegal settlement, the land having been stolen from the Palestinians.
Peace Now, however, works on the assumption — a HUGE assumption — that any land in Judea and Samaria that is not specifically government land is privately owned Palestinian land. And so this group (which is not even a registered NGO in Israel and receives funding from abroad), goes to the High Court and makes charges against outposts, claiming they are situated on Palestinian land. The group makes this claim even though it has no standing in the relevant cases and even though NO Palestinian has come forward to claim the land.This was the situation regarding Ramat Gilad. Once the charge was made, the government acquiesced, as it often does, making a commitment to address the situation per the charge — which at that point meant destruction of houses.
Moshe Zar, who lives in Karnei Shomron, claims that he purchased the land for Ramat Gilad privately, but the civil administration maintains that there was lack of sufficient documentation with regard to one area.
The reason the documentation was lacking was that the Arab who sold the land to Zar was threatened with death if the deal went through. He had already received the sale price, but destroyed the sale documents.
As Jameel at the Muqata writes:
The background: Ramat Gilad is a 10 year old, small community of about 10 families and 30 children located on a hilltop in the Shomron region — on a clear day you can see from Hadera to Ashdod. The buildings of Tel-Aviv are clearly visible almost any day. The community was founded in memory of Gilad Zar, the security officer of the Shomron Regional Council, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists — shot at point blank range in 2001.
Gilad’s father, Moshe Zar is a well-known and colorful character. Moshe is a longtime friend of former Israeli Prime Minister, Arik Sharon, when he served under him in the legendary “Unit 101.” Moshe was wounded in the 1956 Sinai Campaign and lost his left eye as a result of his injuries. In 1983 he was attacked and stabbed by a group of Palestinians but survived.
Moshe purchased thousands of dunams of land in the Shomron from the local Arabs.
In 1982, Moshe Zar purchased 2 parcels of land from an Arab resident of Jinsafut. In response, the seller’s neighbors beat him brutally. As a result, the seller refused to hand over the documents concerning the second parcel of land despite the fact that Moshe Zar had already paid for it in full.
He asked Moshe Zar not to back out of the deal and promised that he would not oppose cultivation of the parcel by Moshe Zar. This parcel has been cultivated by Moshe Zar since then, as evidenced by aerial photographs and by testimony of an Arab worker who plowed the land on behalf of Moshe Zar.
To this day no one else has ever claimed ownership of the land or contested the land’s cultivation. No complaints were filed with the police, army or civil administration despite the fact that the area is clearly visible from Jinsafut.
In response to pressure from Peace Now and their cohorts the Defence Ministry (under Defenceless Minister Ehud Barak) planned to dismantle the entire outpost. This in turn was what ignited the recent settler violence, culminating in the attack on the IDF Ephraim Brigade headquarters. In Jameel’s same article above:
In response to the planned IDF demolition of a Shomron region outpost, “Ramat Gilad”, dozens of Israeli teenagers broke into the nearby IDF Efrayaim Battalion HQ, puncturing tires on jeeps and lobbing paint-filled balloons at IDF jeeps. Earlier in the evening, a rock was thrown into the jeep of the Battalion commanding officer, Ran Kahana, which injured his deputy.
The teenagers who attacked the IDF fail to realize that they are first and foremost, hurting themselves. Their behavior is wrong and the violence is wrong. It damages our unity, it damages the IDF, and most depressing of all, gives our enemies reason to rejoice and point fingers at the violence and increases the likelihood of the destruction of Ramat Gilad.
Who gains from this violence? Peace Now and Ehud Barak gain from the settler violence, as it makes it far simpler to destroy Ramat Gilad.
The tiny minority of violent settlers fell right into a perfectly laid trap…and have made it far more difficult for the rest of us.
Therefore it is very good news indeed to read that an agreement has now been reached between the State and the settlement enterprise to save Ramat Gilad from demolition by the simple expedient of moving 9 caravans from their current location to a few dozen meters away, to undisputed land.
The government agreed Wednesday to retroactively authorize Ramat Gilad outpost homes located on state land in the small hilltop community on the outskirts of the Karnei Shomron settlement in the Samaria region of the West Bank.
In exchange, Ramat Gilad residents will voluntarily remove nine outpost structures situated in a portion of the outpost, which according to the state, is located on private Palestinian property.
First settlers will relocate nine caravans in the coming months to a portion of the outpost that is on state land and or to a nearby area in Karnei Shomron.
After that, the state will authorize a zoning plan for the back end of Karnei Shomron that includes the Ramat Gilad outpost.
Once the plan is approved, 11 structures that are presently located on state land on the Ramat Gilad outpost will automatically be authorized.
Separately, the Civil Administration will re-examine the status of the land on the portion of the outpost, which the state has now designated as belonging to private Palestinian citizens, according to security sources. It will also reexamine the settlement’s boundary line, to make sure that it was properly set.
As for Peace Now’s claim that this deal legitimized settler violence:
Peace Now executive director Yariv Oppenheimer attacked the deal, which he said sent the wrong message to the settlement movement, particularly in the aftermath of a number of “price tag” attacks, executed by right wing extremists to protest settlement home demolitions.
The state, Oppenheimer said, “has surrendered to the violence of the settlers and their political influence.”
But Dayan disagreed. He said that the price tag attacks, particularly the one against the IDF Ephraim Brigade base had almost derailed negotiations for an agreement.
“The agreement was reached in spite of the violence that occurred and not because of it,” he said.
My only question is, if the solution to the whole problem involves such a simple act as moving 9 caravans, why wasn’t this idea brought up years ago? If it was, why was it not implemented?