At about 3:30 in the morning, in the black of night, the throngs began arriving. All in uniform. Soldiers, both men and women, police, both men and women, and military police, both men and women. Their mission: TRANSFER!
Earlier in the evening Knesset Member Rehavan Ze'evi, better known as Ghandi, arrived at Havat Maon - the Maon Homestead. Ghandi, a former general whose command included Hebron following the 1967 Six-day war, is head of the Moledet party. (During the past elections he joined together with 2 other parties to form the National Unity Party, which he presently leads.) The Moledet (meaning Homeland) party bannered one theme: Transfer. They did not call for the violent removal of Arabs from Eretz Yisrael. They called for a compensated transfer of Arabs from the Jewish State of Israel, thereby, according to their philosophy, removing the enemy from within, allowing each people to live separately.
Israeli politics branded Ghandi and his Moledet party racist. Even Netanyahu refused to seat Ghandi and Moledet in his coalition. "Transfer" was considered to be off-limits - a crossing of a double red line, a political 'no - no'.
That 'no - no' policy applies, of course, only to transfer of Arabs. Transferring Jews is another story entirely.
The Maon Homestead, (sometimes called the Maon farm), was founded next to the original Maon community in the Southern Hebron Hills, about 15 minutes from Hebron, two and a half years ago. Amana, the Yesha settlement development company, allotted three young men a hill, two kilometers from Maon. They began cultivating the land, while at the same time, building a house. For months they slept on the rocky ground, with only a few dogs to keep them company. Only after one of the men was attacked by an Arab in late summer did they receive a trailer to sleep in.
One year and a half ago, the day after Pesach, the three were again attacked by a group of Arabs. One man, Dov Dribben hy"d was murdered. He left a widow and 4 sons. The house he had started building was finished by others, included a nineteen year old named Harel Ben-Nun, a skilled builder, who was later killed when ambushed by Arabs at the Shomron community Yitzhar.
In the meantime, other families moved to the homestead, including the newly-wed secretary of the Hebron community offices, Avivit Pearl, and her husband Micha. They moved into a small trailer home immediately after their marriage, a year ago. Avivit is due to give birth, with G-d's help, in a short while.
The families at Maon had one goal: to work the land. They planted vineyards, an olive grove and other fruit trees. They also kept a stable and horses.
A few weeks ago the Barak government decided to apply a 'transfer policy to five communities in Judea and Samaria, including the Maon homestead. They asked each community to evacuate their homes and land. Maon's residents refused, claiming the legitimate right of a Jew to settle Eretz Yisrael. Government spokespeople announced that the Maon community occupies territory used by the army for weapons training, and may not be lived on by civilians. When the same spokespeople were asked whether or not the Arab Bedouins living on the same land would also be evicted, they refused to reply. When asked why other communities, such as the transferred residents of Mitzpe Karmim in Binyamin, near Kochav HaShachar were moved to areas utilized by the army for training exercises, they had no answers. Only one thing was clear: the Maon homestead had to be dismantled.
The transfer began last night at about 3:30. It ended this morning at about 8:00. Hundreds of people who gathered there for the Maon Homestead's Last Stand were carried and dragged into waiting buses. Over 30 children and youth were arrested and taken to Jerusalem The beautiful log cabin house, built by two young men who were killed because they dared to settle Eretz Yisrael, is soon to be destroyed by giant Israeli tractors. What the Arabs did not succeed in doing, Israel is doing for them.
The Maon Homestead is dead. But it will never, ever, rest in peace.