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Political Analysis and Commentary
´Stop a Moment and Think Again´ Protest Lines Highways
IsraelNationalNews.com - June 27, 2005 / 20 Sivan 5765
The “Stop a Moment – Think Again” protest organized by the Council of Judea, Samaria and Gaza began at 6 PM, lining many of Israel\'s highways with anti-Disengagement motorists.
Pinchas Wallerstein of the Yesha Council told Channel 2 that he was very pleased with the results of the
meticulously organized protest.
“Despite the threats made on the public, they have come out and are stopped on both sides of the roads all along the length of Israel,” Wallerstein said.
The Yesha Council reports that 40,000 vehicles have pulled over to the side of the road and that more than 200,000 demonstrators are standing outside their cars along Israel’s highways to demand the government rethink the decision to expel 10,000 Jews from their homes in Gaza and northern Samaria.
At 6:30 PM, the busy Bar Ilan intersection in Jerusalem was reported to be blocked by Hareidi-religious opponents of the Disengagement Plan. Thousands of Hareidi-religious protesters from the city of B\'nei Brak closed off the main Jabotinsky boulevard between B\'nei Brak and Ramat Gan as well.
Intersections and thoroughfares throughout Israel are expected to be blocked on Wednesday in the first act of massive civil disobedience since the "dry-run" on May 17th, during which over 500 activists were arrested.
It was reported that police officers prevented busloads of people, as well as individual cars from making their way to sites designated by the Council for the demonstration earlier Monday evening.
At the Oranit checkpoint, near Jerusalem, police asked drivers where they were headed. When the answer was "to the demonstration," the police detained the drivers for an unknown period. Similar hold-ups at other police checkpoints were also reported.
On the Ayalon Expressway into Tel Aviv, police handed out traffic tickets to the drivers of the hundreds of vehicles that have stopped along the highway\'s shoulder.
Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council spokespersons said, "Sharon\'s private police force is already now trying to prevent citizens from exercising their right to protest."
Police Chief Moshe Karadi later informed Avner Shimoni, head of the Gaza Coast Regional Council, that the police interference with and detention of anti-Disengagement protestors at the Oranit checkpoint was a local action that was taken as a result of a mistake. Karadi initiated the call after Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council representatives lodged a complaint against the illegal interference.
Chief Karadi made it clear to Shimoni that the police would not interfere with or prevent citizens trying to join the roadside protests.
Police in Jerusalem expressed satisfaction with the order and peaceful nature of the current "Stop a Moment and Think Again" protest against the government\'s Disengagement Plan. When asked by reporters about enforcing traffic laws prohibiting non-emergency use of the road shoulders, the police representatives said that there is to be "very selective enforcement."
The protest could be viewed using the Ayalon highway authority’s traffic cameras.
Click here to view the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway.
Click here to view the JNF interchange.
IDF Soldier Refuses Expulsion Orders, Twelve Comrades Join Him
Monday, June 27, 2005 / 20 Sivan 5765
U.S. immigrant Avi Bieber declared, ‘A Jew does not expel a Jew’ and refused orders after seeing his officers beating Jewish residents yesterday. Twelve of his comrades have now followed suit.
Bieber, a soldier in the 603rd Combat Engineer Battalion, approached his commander a week ago, and informed him that he is unable to take part in the implementation of the Disengagement Plan. Avi\'s father Ralph told Arutz-7 that the commander dismissed the 19-year-old, telling him that the matter would be discussed two months from now, when the actual expulsion of Jews from Gaza and northern Samaria is due to begin.
On Sunday, Bieber’s unit was brought to an area near the beachfront community of Shirat HaYam and ordered to destroy eleven abandoned structures. The government wished to ensure that the buildings would not be used to house anti-expulsion activists flooding into Gush Katif.
As violent scuffles ensued, Avi, who according to his father did not plan on publicly refusing orders, felt compelled to cry out against the beating of the protesters, young and old alike. “Soldiers do not beat Jews! A Jew does not expel a Jew!” Bieber cried out. He was immediately relieved of his weapon and taken into custody, as friends from his unit looked on.
Many of his fellow soldiers of 15 months, it turns out, do not disagree with him. Twelve of the soldiers from Avi’s unit informed their brigade commander last night that they refuse to take part in any future actions having to do with the Disengagement Plan. They received a reprimand on their permanent records.
Some of the soldiers were also not pleased with the way they say they were deceived into taking part in the expulsion. "If we had been informed that we were being taken to a mission of this sort, we would have refused along with Avi," some of the soldiers told Yediot Acharonot.
"We were always told that [our] weapons ... are against Arabs. How can you do such thing against Jews?” one soldier said.
“My wife and I are very proud of what our son did,” Ralph Bieber told Arutz-7’s Ezra HaLevi. “It took a lot of courage to do what he did. He is usually a very quiet kid, but he saw something that moved him emotionally and brought him to speak out.”
Bieber said his son had been stationed in Gush Katif for the past six months and has grown to admire the community, which he took great pride in protecting. “Now they bring him to kick them out?” Bieber asked.
Ralph Bieber made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel) for the first time in 1978, fighting in the Peace For the Galilee War as a combat engineer. “If it is a crime to bring up a son who loves the Land of Israel and stands up for what is right, then I am guilty,” Bieber said.
After a stint in Passaic, New Jersey, the Bieber family made Aliyah together in 1996. Ralph Bieber said that his American upbringing and decision to make Aliyah may have contributed to Avi’s ability to stand up against the IDF and the government for what is right and just. “My son was brought up like I was brought up - to love the nation of Israel and the Land of Israel.”
The Biebers say that ever since news of Avi’s refusal hit the headlines, their phone has been ringing nonstop. “I really believe the majority of this country knows this plan is insane,” Bieber said. “I have gotten calls from Herzliya, Netanya, Tel Aviv – people who tell me that they are not religious, but agree with my son and will stand with him. I got a call from the Chabad house in Tokyo. A father and son from Tel Aviv approached us, and the elderly father, a Holocaust survivor, said, ‘What your son did really moved me. If the Jewish people would have done what he did in the time of the Holocaust, things would have ended differently.’”
Bieber had not heard about the refusal of twelve of his son’s comrades, but when informed of the development by HaLevi, he was pleased. “It’s starting. This is just the beginning," he said.
Avi (ben Miriam) Bieber is currently being held on his army base, and is able to move freely and speak to his parents on the telephone. An IDF committee is deliberating upon whether to grant his request to be tried in an IDF military court, where he may be represented by a lawyer, or have his commander try and sentence him without legal counsel.