Justice and Liberty for … WHO?
May 19, 1995
On Sunday morning, May 21, a unique and unusual demonstration will commence. Not in Jerusalem, not in Tel-Aviv, not in Haifa. Rather in a small Israeli city called Yavneh. The demonstration, to continue for an entire week, will not be held in front of the home of a politician, at least not a declared politician. It is to be held in front of the home of a soldier, or rather an officer, and a very high ranking one, at that. As a matter of fact, almost the highest rank in the Israeli army – a general.
General Ilan Biran is the commander of the Central Region in Israel, thereby making him one of the four or five ranking officers in the Israeli army, answerable to the Commander-in-Chief Amnon Shahak, and the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Yitzhak Rabin. As Commander of the Central region, he is, among other things, responsible for defense of the population in Judea and Samaria.
Why demonstrate by the house of General Ilan Biran? Over a year ago, following Baruch Goldstein’s actions at the Cave of Machpela in Hebron, a number of Israeli’s were incarcerated, defined as administrative detainees. They were neither indicted, nor were they tried. They were held in jail for between 3 months and a year. Ilan Biran signed the orders for their arrests. Upon release, one “administrative detainee”, Bauch ben Yosef, not allowed to return to his home in Ma’ale Adumim, a Jerusalem suburb. Rather, he was forced to live in Haifa. Another, Hebron’s Baruch Marzel, was placed under virtual house arrest after spending a year in prison. He is not allowed to leave his home without receiving written permission from none other than General Ilan Biran. His house arrest is not court-ordered. Rather is by decree, military decree, signed by General Ilan Biran. Other Israeli’s are forbidden to enter the Cave of Machpela, the Tombs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, in Hebron. Why not? The decree signed by Biran, is not explicit concerning the reason. (Perhaps he is afraid that their prayers might be answered if they worship there?) There are others, such as Golan Heights resident Michael Ben-Chorin, who are forbidden to enter all of Judea and Samaria.
These people, whose civil rights have not only been violated, rather they have been totally negated, will spend a week in front of the home of General Ilan Biran, demanding that he annul the draconian decrees that he has issued and signed. If General Biran, or Prime Minister Rabin have proof that any of the victims of this military-political terrorism is guilty of any law, their evidence must be presented to the Israeli Attorney General. They should be tried in a civilian court, and be given the opportunity to defend themselves. If they are guilty, they will be punished. If they are innocent, they will continue to live as free Israeli citizens, with freedom of movement, as have all law-abiding people. However, this continued use of anarchistic military brutality, taking the form of orders issued by Generals, is only too reminiscent of the kind of terrorism practiced by the KGB in Soviet Russia.
Show support for justice and liberty in Israel. Write to the new American Ambassador in Israel, Dr. Martin Indig, at the American Embassy, Tel-Aviv. Demand restoration of civil rights to all Israel’s. Demand that Rabin rescind all military orders restricting freedom of movement for Israeli’s being persecuted for their political-religious beliefs. Mention a few names, such as those previously specified, as well as those of David Shirel, veteran resident of Hebron’s Tel-Romeda neighborhood, whose only “crime” is that he prays and studies in the Cave of Machpela. (His automobile has been twice firebombed by Hebron Arabs.) and Noam Fedderman, also of Hebron, whose major crime is having belonged to the now-outlawed “Kach” movement. The Israeli left preaches the virtues of democracy. It’s time they practice what they preach.