A Jewish Home party lawmaker came under fire Wednesday after he compared the evacuation of an illegal West Bank outpost to the brutal rape of a woman.
MK Bezael Smotrich made the comments when he arrived at the Amona outpost to protest its scheduled court-ordered removal by security forces. Amona was built on privately owned Palestinian land, the court detrermined.
“The government is forced to do something awful and terrible, that hurts the way it does when something terrible happens,” Smotrich told Channel 2 television. “When a woman is raped it hurts, and what is happening here is a brutal rape.”
“This is judicial tyranny that is raping us, raping the government, raping elected officials, raping those who received a mandate from the people. We want to build the settlement enterprise, to develop it.”
Hundreds of activists were believed to be holed up inside the outpost, in addition to the 40 families who live there, while some 3,000 members of the security forces massed outside during the morning and prepared to clear the community. A message sent out to residents instructed them to resist without violence, but make the evacuation as difficult and time-consuming as possible for security forces.
Opposition MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin of the Zionist Union called Smotrich’s comments “intolerable disrespect of rape.”
“It is an unfortunate statement embodying an absolute lack of moral judgment and values,” she said. “Rape is against the principles of morality and law and should not be compared to the evacuation of Amona that implements the law and is fulfilling the High Court decision. His comment is hurtful to tens of thousands of men and women who have experienced rape. It is a shame that MK Smotrich resorted to populism and quick headlines.”
“I have empathy for the residents of Amona who need to leave their homes, despite MK Smotrich who isn’t capable of showing empathy for anyone who has a different opinion to his own.”
Galia Wolloch, president of Na’amat, the Movement of Working Women and Volunteers, also criticized Smotrich over his choice of words.
“Only someone who has not been raped can use this terrible situation for his political needs. The elected officials need to be much careful in their words. The rape of women is a shocking thing that should only ever be condemned.”
Smotrich defended his pro-settlement party’s decision not to leave the government in protest at the evacuation, saying it would be more effective to remain in the cabinet and push through laws beneficial to the settlement enterprise.
“Leaving the government at the moment is not effective. We are going to push through the Regulation Law,” he said, referring to a bill currently going through parliament that would enable the government to recognize unapproved outposts built on privately held Palestinian land and offer financial compensation to the owners in return.
On Tuesday morning Amona residents received an eviction order from the army, giving them 48 hours to leave the area with their belongings. Nevertheless, the government began evacuating the outpost Wednesday morning.