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Givat HaBaladim raided, homes dismantled

Monday, November 2, 2015, 20:44 On the night of Sunday, November 1, policemen, soldiers and Civil Administration personnel along with a private company brought to transport a flock of ewes owned by one of the residents raided the Givat HaBaladim outpost near Kochav Ya’akov and evacuated the site. The security forces dismantled two residential buildings and confiscated a large amount of equipment. A family with two children and a group of unmarried men who resided at the site were removed. Initially the security forces refused to present an order. In the end they presented a closed military zone order from the year 1999, signed by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, then GOC of the Central Command. The Givat HaBaladim residents who have been living there for three years say that they were never presented with the order, which was signed almost 17 years ago. In an unusual step the Civil Administration confiscated a flock of ewes which had been raised on the hilltop for several years. Givat HaBaladim residents report that the flock was abused during the confiscation. The private company loaded the ewes onto a truck without a ramp, with horrendous disregard for their safety. A District Coordination and Liaison Administration officer later informed the residents that two sheep died during transport. While the 67 ewes were confiscated, dozens of lambs were left behind without their mothers and therefore not able to nurse. Two residents were detained on suspicions of violating a closed military zone and disturbing a policeman in the line of duty. After receiving legal assistance from Honenu Attorney Rehavia Piltz at the Binyamin Police Station, they were released overnight. Nerya Ben-Pazi, the owner of the flock and one of the detainees, said that the livestock transporters committed every injustice possible. “I passed a course in livestock transport. The people who confiscated the flock violated every rule possible, committed criminal violations and severely injured the flock,” said Ben-Pazi. His father, Rabbi Bentzi Ben-Pazi, a Kochav HaShahar resident, came to the hilltop after being informed of the raid. He described the incident: “The entire operation was an inhumane action of the highest order. They cleared out a family with two young children from their house, handcuffed the residents of the hilltop and left them sitting out for three hours watching their equipment being confiscated and the ewes being shoved around. My son’s heart was torn. Every one of the ewes has a name. You see the flock in which you invested your entire soul and your entire life, suffering abuse like that, all of the ewes thrown without a ramp into a transport truck without anything. They brought in a private company to round up the livestock and the workers didn’t know at all how to transport sheep. They started to drag them and almost broke their legs. They took the mothers and left the lambs without milk, without the ability to eat. Two ewes died in transport. “They [the security forces] handcuffed my son with his hands behind his back. They didn’t give him anything to drink for three hours and he dehydrated. It was simply horrible. The rabbi of the community came to see what was happening. They didn’t allow him to get close enough to speak to the officers,” added Rabbi Ben-Pazi. The ewes are being kept without proper care or supervision, apparently on one of the Civil Administration bases. The owner of the flock has not yet been informed if the Civil Administration intends to release the flock. On the evening of Monday, November 2, Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado sent an urgent request to the Civil Administration demanding the release of the flock, which in addition to lacking care and supervision is being kept in an area susceptible to diseases. Honenu intends to take legal action against all those responsible for the abuse of the residents and the livestock: “We are once again witness to a shocking manifestation of the violation of the rights of Jews. Expelling a family with little children from their home with no warning, with the authorization of a warrant signed 16 years ago, pulled from some archive, is something that should not be done. Also the damage to the residents’ property and the abuse of the flock which led to severe injury to the livestock, including the death of two ewes, is awful and a violation of the Animal Protection Law. We will use all of the legal tools available to ensure that justice is served with the authorities and the private company which took part in the incident.” Honenu Attorney Menasheh Yado stated that, “There was no cause to remove residents without warning and without a hearing. There is not a shadow of a doubt that if the Civil Administration had acted in a legal manner which answers to the basic rules of good governance, natural justice, and general ethics, according to a reasonable procedure which forewarns and allows for a hearing, then no damage would have been done. It is clear that the purpose of the action was not to enforce the order but rather the brutal and illegal dismantlement of Givat HaBaladim under the pretext of carrying out an outdated order.”

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