Israeli Cabinet approves legalization of terror victim’s community

The Cabinet voted to approve a motion to legalize the Havat Gilad outpost near Shechem following the recent murder of a resident of the community by Palestinian terrorists.


The Cabinet voted unanimously Sunday to approve Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s motion to legalize the Havat Gilad outpost near Shechem (Nablus) in the wake of the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a resident of the community, by Palestinian terrorists on January 9.

The Cabinet decision stated that the new settlement would be built on private and or state lands and would have independent municipal status under the umbrella of the Samaria Regional Council.

Prior to the meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he had spoken with Shevach’s widow Yael and told her that the government would legalize the outpost.

“The government will provide for the status of Havat Gilad in order to facilitate orderly life there,” Netanyahu said. “For the murderers – exacting justice. To those who sanctify death, we will sanctify life. This is the essence of the government’s policy.

“I told her that our policy is being carried out in two spheres. First, exacting justice. Yesterday our forces were again in action in an effort to apprehend the last of the assassins and their accomplices in the murder of Rabbi Shevach. We will not rest until we bring them to justice. And we will bring them all to justice,” Netanyahu said.

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“Our second policy guideline is to strengthen settlement,” he continued. “Whoever thinks that through the reprehensible murder of a resident of Havat Gilad, a father of six, that he can break our spirit and weaken us, is making a bitter mistake.”

Havat Gilad was built on land purchased by Moshe Zar after the murder of his son Gilad, the security coordinator of the Samaria Regional Council, who was shot and killed by Palestinian terrorists in 2001. Some 42 families currently live in the outpost.

However some of the community is built on land whose status is unclear. In order to accomodate parts of the outpost that may not meet the requirement of being on private or state land, the Cabinet statement said the new settlement would “absorb residents from the area.”

Itai Zar, Gilad’s brother, told Tazpit Press Service that the family was “very excited about the decision to recognize Havat Gilad.”

“A month ago our dear friend Raziel [Shevach] was murdered and instead of sitting here and mourning we decided that we would not give in and we fought together with his widow Yael to have a cemetery built here, to have him buried here and to have Havat Gilad recognized. This is our response; they murder and we build,” Zar said.

Samaria Settlers’ Committee Chairman Tzachi Dickstein said that while he welcomed the decision, “The recognition of Havat Gilad came as the result of an abominable murder, and not as part of a policy to build settlements.”

“This morning’s decision is a right one but it isn’t enough,” he added. “We call upon the government to strengthen our hold and sovereignty in Judea and Samaria. Widespread settlement is the only way to prevent terror and to ensure sovereignty.”