Jerusalem, 10 November 1999

PM Barak on Evacuation of Maon

(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

At the Cabinet meeting today (Wednesday), 10.11.99, Prime Minister Ehud Barak expressed his and the government’s appreciation to the IDF and police for the manner in which they carried out the operation to evacuate the Maon Farm. The operation was important, complex and sensitive. Prime Minister Barak characterized the operation as having combined "sense and determination in order to impose the government’s will on its citizens."

Prime Minister Barak added, "What happened at the Maon Farm is a difficult test for democracy and a red light on the road to anarchy. There was a minority of extremists along with a majority of good-intentioned people who did not understand that this was a test for democracy. The issue is not the Land of Israel, but the primacy of the rule of law and ensuring that citizens obey the government."

Prime Minister Barak praised the Yesha Council for the prudent position it has taken in recent weeks, noting, "Anyone who diverts the IDF from its ongoing operations – the struggle against terrorism, defending the settlers and protecting the country – harms our continuing struggle for the Land of Israel."

Prime Minister Barak said that during his diplomatic talks abroad he made it clear to his interlocutors that while there is no disagreement regarding the legality of many communities in Judea and Samaria – which have been established in accordance with the law – he would not allow individuals or groups to lead the government. Barak emphasized, "None of the young men and women at the Maon Farm can teach me about love for the Land of Israel. I recommend that no-one belittle the government’s determination to use force, however sensitively, to protect democracy, even as the political struggle over secure borders and the Jewish people’s hold onto the Land of Israel continues."