Rabbi Melamed put a religious veto on the evacuation of illegal Jewish settlements
The Israeli community has split into two. One part of it supports the liquidation of illegal Jewish settlements, the other part wants more Jewish settlement to be built on the Palestinian territory.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon criticized the peaceful settlement project that Washington proposed last week. Sharon stated during the conversation with a group of American Jews that visited Jerusalem that it was impossible for Israel to take global actions, since Palestine released only statements and nothing more.
The project urges to start thorough political and security reforms in Palestine. Those reforms might lead to the establishment of the Palestinian state by the end of the year 2003. The constant status would be granted to Palestine by the end of 2005. The plan particularly calls upon Israel to retreat to the positions that the country used to be on before the intifada started, to liquidate illegal settlements and to stop military actions in the Palestinian autonomy.
As far as the elimination of illegal Jewish settlements is concerned, it is a very moot question indeed. It does not seem that the parties are going to come to consent, or compromise. Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer threatened to resign, if someone would stop him from demolishing the settlements.
Religious figures also participate in the dispute. Rabbi Zalman Melamed, put a religious veto on the liquidation of illegal Israeli settlements, the <i><b>Haaretz</b></i> reports. The rabbi said in his address to Jewish settlers and to the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Army: “Just as a person is obligated to refuse to fulfil an order to desecrate the Sabbath, thus must he also refuse to fulfil an order to evacuate a settlement outpost, even if he is punished as a result."
Last Saturday, Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer's ruled to evacuate the Havat Gilad outpost on the West Bank. The Israeli soldiers, who arrived to evacuate the settlement, had to deal with a strong resistance on the part of Havat Gilad residents. Forty-three police officers were slightly wounded as a result of the clash between the population and the soldiers. Fifteen people were arrested for showing resistance to the authorities.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov