The protests against police violence during the razing of illegal structures in Havat Gilad Monday, for which settlers vowed payback, began at 7 am Thursday, with activists blocking major junctions near Jerusalem. But the worst was yet to come. In their war room, organizers mapped out areas in which protesters would clash with security forces.
The men manning the room include Bentzi Gopstein, Baruch Marzel, representatives of the Hilltop Youth, supporters of the infamous Rabbi Meir Kahane, and others. Some are suspected of committing 'Price tag' offenses.
They gathered in the living room of the apartment, where shelves are lined with Kahane's writings, leaving behind cell phones for fear of wiretapping. The lady of the house served refreshments.
The meeting lasted two hours altogether. One of those present, of an outpost in south Mount Hebron, inveighed against the interior minister, who said after Monday's clashes that settlers were shot with plastic bullets because they had attacked officers.
"The support Minister Aharonovitch gave officers who rioted in Havat Gilad proves that we cannot trust the government and it's time to take matters into our own hands. We must understand that there are officials in the government and police who would love to see the blood of settlers spilled. We cannot be fools," he said.
Another activist said revenge was in order for the clashes. "We must create an organized plan that will make Bibi sorry for what he did, not only on Thursday, but for all of the coming months," he said, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"It's clear that the government is aiming for a battle with us and those who begin the war must understand that there will be consequences."
Palestinian car torched (Photo: Iad Hadad, B'Tselem)
Aharonovitch to be smeared?
Bentzi Gopstein, of the Chasdei Meir Charity Fund, presented the others with a bag activists are planning to hand out to protesters, free of charge. The provisions within include a helmet and vest made of sturdy plastic, used to defend protesters against riot dispersal means police may implement.
"We must fit the guys out with proper gear that will allow them to defend themselves against these madmen. At Havat Gilad I saw the hatred in their eyes. I saw the damage they did and made a decision that we must allow our men to defend themselves," he said.
Gopstein added that his fund had acquired the gear using donations. "What happened in Amona and Havat Gilad must not happen again," he warned.
Other plans brought up in the meeting included a smear campaign against Aharonovitch. "We must come to his house and chase after him wherever he goes, in order to explain to everyone that this is a minister more suited for Meretz than the party of Avigdor Lieberman," one of the organizers said.
Representatives of the Hilltop Youth Movement suggested activists infiltrate Palestinian territories in the West Bank – including Jericho, Nablus, and other villages situated between the A and B territories.
The organizers also discussed blocking junctions in the West Bank and throughout Israel, some of which were indeed blocked Thursday morning.
"I prefer this situation, because I think Bibi is dangerous and that he will bring destruction. After Havat Gilad it is a good thing for people to sober up and realize that Bibi and Aharonovitch are not on our side, they are on the other side," Marzel concluded.
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