Dagan (L); Photo credit: Shomron Region Council
Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 10:21 Yossi Dagan, the Shomron Regional Council Head, sent a letter to Major-General Moshe Bareket, the Yehuda and Shomron Police Commander, concerning the detention of the Jewish agriculturalists who were brutally attacked by an Arab mob on Jewish land, “Dorot Elite”, near the community of Ma’aleh Shomron in early July. Dagan explained that the agriculturalists were faced with an attack by a mob which directly threatened their lives, and if they had not used their weapons in self defense, the incident would have ended differently. Later today (Wednesday) a deliberation will take place on the appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar demanding the immediate release of the detainees. In his letter, Dagan explained that the land was purchased according to the law decades ago and was officially registered. Recently the land was marketed as land designated for founding a community in the future, and the owners of the land sent Jewish agriculturalists to work the land in order to prevent its takeover by Fatah and the Land Intifada. The two organizations are attempting to take over land by means of organized plantings at the site, marches by Fatah and more, which are dealt with by the Civil Administration and the IDF, whereas agricultural work by Jews is recognized by the local authorities, both the Shomron Regional Council and the Karnei Shomron Local Council. The attack, which occurred more than two weeks ago “is a most serious incident during which agriculturalists who arrived at the site were attacked, and dozens of rioters were called to the scene in order to carry out a lynching.” Dagan added that the Ephraim Brigade Commander, Colonel Yiftah Norkin, recognized the severity of the incident: “This was clearly an incident of an attack by a mob in an attempt to carry out a lynch on the agriculturalists, literally.” Additionally, Col. Norkin stressed to Dagan that in real time there were announcements from the mosque loudspeakers in the neighboring village calling on the public to come out of their homes and attack the agriculturalists. In previous incidents in the Shomron region, Dagan recalled, citizens have been forced to use their weapons in self defense against terrorist attacks: “Incidents like this occur once or twice a year. It is clear to me that this was definitely a life-threatening attack and that if the agriculturalists had not defended their lives with their weapons, we would, G-d forbid, be handling the funerals of seven murder victims of a terrible attack.” Concerning the incitement in the Arab social media Dagan added “The incitement by the Fatah terror organization and the ‘Land Intifada’ continues, including explicit threats, which are transferred to IDF authorities, of more violence. Also mass marches and illegal plantings have taken place for the purpose of taking over the area [involved in the recent incident] and prevent the owners from cultivating the land.” Dagan concluded his letter: “I expect the police to treat this incident with appropriate seriousness and to act to prosecute to the full extent of the law the rioters who attempted to carry out a vicious lynching on the agriculturalists.” To recap, on Monday, July 20, two weeks after the incident, policemen from the Central Unit of the Yehuda and Shomron Police detained the injured agriculturalists, all of whom have completed army service, some of them in elite commando units, who had opened fire in self defense, on suspicion of injuring two of the Arab attackers. It should be noted that after the incident all of the Jewish agriculturalists were interrogated at the police station and gave testimony about the incident. They were released after interrogation. The following day (Tuesday), the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court extended the remand of two of the agriculturalists by two days and the remand of an additional agriculturalist by five days. Today (Wednesday), the Central District Court in Lod is scheduled to judge the appeal filed by Honenu Attorney Adi Keidar demanding the immediate release of the detainees. In the attack, which occurred in early July, hundreds of Arabs attacked a group of Jewish agriculturalists working on Jewish land near the community of Ma’aleh Shomron. During the attack, which included rock throwing and beatings, four of the agriculturalists were injured. MDA personnel evacuated them to the Meir Hospital in K’far Saba.