Rabin Orders Shutdown of West Bank Settlers’ Publication

Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin today ordered the closure of the West Bank settlers’ publication Alef Yod after Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir charged it with incitement to revolt.

Rabin acted against the biweekly only hours after Zamir stated there were grounds to suspect that an article entitled “Judaea and Samaria Will Not Fall Again,” signed by M. Ben-Yisrael and published November 1, constituted incitement to revolt, a crime under the Penal Code.

Zamir added that Alef Yod, based in the West Bank town of Ariel, was published without a license, in violation of Article 6 of Military Command Order 101 which prohibits incitement and hostile propaganda. The article urged Jewish settlers in the West Bank to fight by any and all means a purported plan of the government to relinquish parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for a peace settlement with King Hussein of Jordan and the Palestinians.

Ben Yisrael, believed to be a pseudonym, wrote that in the event of a possible peace settlement with Jordan, “Each and everyone (of the Jewish settlers) should prepare himself spiritually to stand in Judaea, Samaria and the Gaza region, and to raise his arm — and his gun — against his brother. In that hour of national emergency, most of the means will be legitimate, in the absence of a more comfortable and acceptable choice.”

URGENCY FOR PAPER’S CLOSURE

Rabin reportedly felt that if the message carried in this article was not met by swift action, it could be interpreted, de facto, as a legitimization of the points of view expressed. The Defense Minister is said to have decided to act on Zamir’s recommendations because even though the prospect of civil war is not on the horizon, such phenomena must be nipped in the bud.

Yaacov Rahamim, editor of Alef Yod, denounced the shutdown order as a severe blow to democracy and freedom of speech. He claimed the Ben-Yisrael article was published only to alert the public to the sentiments prevalent among Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The militant, Gush Emunim reacted angrily as well. It claimed that the Arabic press in East Jerusalem published thousands of words of incitement every day without punitive action by the Attorney General, “who is known for his left-of-center tendencies.”

While the Gush criticized the contents of the article generally, it saw it as a “declaration of principle” that to give up any parts of “Eretz Yisrael” would be an illegal act.

Zamir, meanwhile, is reviewing a request by the Defense Ministry to consider whether a resolution adopted Tuesday night by the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judaea and Samaria is also subject to legal action.

The resolution stated that plans allegedly contemplated by the government of Premier Shimon Peres “of handing over to the enemy all or part of the Land of Israel are an illegal action and must not be obeyed. Any government that performs the aforementioned actions should be regarded as an illegal government.” The resolution warned that “any partition of the country will cause a rift in the nation.”

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