Traveling up the road to Ma’ale Levona from Sinjil at 17:30 in the evening, the vehicle I was riding in was confronted with and the road blocked by two Israel Police vehicles. After some discussion, the police agreed to move the vehicles and allowed the vehicle I was riding in to pass. Traveling from there to the main road into the village, I could see a long line of traffic backed up on the main road. The following is reported live as dictated to my son, Shimon, who typed this as I spoke.
At the entry road to Ma’ale Levona there is a tremendous road block. There are border guards in full combat gear, there are police, and Yassminikim in black. The main road into the village was blocked with stones and we ran over them at 17:40 this evening (7 December 2009). Fortunately the vehicle was not damaged. It is impossible to enter Ma’ale Levona at this second. The presence of police, military vehicles, and the stones in the road seem to indicate that there either is or has been a confrontation between forces of the state and the residents of Ma’ale Levona. This is confirmed by the presence of a large number of residents at the gate of the yishuv (village). A barrier of rocks is slowly being removed from the roadway and we are progressing home. Walking into the village, I was stopped by a kid who wanted to make sure I live here.
The following are the observations of my son Shimon.
At around 2:15 p.m. one of our neighbors told me Border Guards wanted to get into the yishuv (village) to inspect it for new buildings. However the residents would not let them in. Buses that stopped by the village were not allowed into the gate at all. So the passengers who desired to enter either walked up the road (about ? kilometer) or waited for a ride from the village to get in. The reason I know this is that the bus I was on returning from Jerusalem was stopped at the gate, and I was allowed in by my neighbor, who knew me.
The Background Story
Apparently, it was the turn of Ma'ale Levona to be "inspected" by the "building freeze" officials from the Israeli government. They were stopped in their tracks today (7 December 2009). This writer was on hand to see them leave at about 17:45 in the evening.
According to my neighbor, Danny Kransdorf, a tour operator, he received a phone call from a tour group that he has in the country that Border Guards and police were gathering at the gate at Ma'ale Levona. He wasn't sure exactly when he got the phone call, but according to him, he has been at the gate all afternoon. Residents put up a barrier of stones behind the yellow fence that guards the village. I do not know if the fence remained closed, and according to Danny, one girl from the ulpaná, the girl's high school in Ma'ale Levona, got shoved into the stone barrier by the Border Guards.
The police climbed over the gate along with the inspector who was supposed to deliver documents implementing the building freeze here. According to Mina Browdy, a teacher at the ulpaná, the police attempted to enter the village starting at 11:00 in the morning. At 15:00, the Yassam (SWAT team) as well as Border Guards (in full combat gear) arrived. At 16:00 they climbed over the fence, advancing up the steep road to the village entry way. The inspector, accompanied by police, did not succeed in getting past the main bus stop at the entryway of the village. They were blocked by the residents of the village, and by a crowd of girls from the ulpaná.
One of the issues that might have brought the police to Ma'ale Levona is the planned construction of actual dormitories and a school building for the girls who study here. At present, the entire ulpaná operates out of what are called caravans in Israel, which are mobile homes that are falling apart from over-use. Even though the construction of public buildings is not covered by the "freeze," it is possible that this show of force was designed to impress the villagers.
According to Mrs. Browdy, "It was the girls from the ulpaná who provided much of the 'manpower' that stopped the police. The police were stopped by demonstrators who stood in the pouring rain in the evening and who engaged in non-violent civil disobedience," she said.
"We stood strong in the pouring rain against the police," Mrs. Brody continued. "We will continue to stand strong, and build, and we are sorry if our actions must temporarily pit us against our brothers."
This story was also covered by Arutz Sheva, along with other confrontations that took place today in Samaria.
According to Arutz Sheva, Border Police and special ”Yassam” police units were caught on video on Sunday manhandling girls in non-violent protests in Kedumim, in violation of standard operating procedures. From the article:
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One 11th grade girl from Kedumim told Arutz 7, “I told the police they have not right to touch me. What can they do to me? Arrest me? They won’t put me in jail, but I am prepared to sit in prison for the sake of the Land of Israel. The government is shooting itself in the foot. Netanyahu does what the Americans tell him to do.
“What are we? Ragdolls of the Americans? We are fed up.”