Police evacuating Amona outposts met by hundreds of protesters

Police evacuating Amona outposts met by hundreds of protesters

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Israeli police evict settlers from the West Bank outpost of Amona, on Feb. 1. JINIPIX PHOTO

Police and security officers evacuating homes in the West Bank outpost of Amona were greeted by hundreds of activists, including some throwing stones.

Hundreds of police entered Amona on Feb. 1 morning to carry out the court-ordered evacuation. The activists, including many teens, have stationed themselves in homes and the outpost’s synagogue.

Some police were hit and injured by rocks even before the evacuation started. At least one officer was hit in the face with caustic material, believed to be bleach. Television cameras showed her flushing out her eyes with water.

Some 13 police officers were wounded and four protesters arrested in the first hours of the evacuation.

The Israel media estimated between 1,000 and 2,000 protesters were on and around the outpost, which is home to about 40 families.

On Tuesday, police sealed the roads leading to the outpost to all but authorized vehicles in an attempt to prevent protesters from gathering. Many headed to Amona on foot, walking through fields and unpopulated areas to reach the outpost.

The Supreme Court has ruled that Amona is an illegal settlement built on appropriated Palestinian land. At least three demolition orders have been issued since 1997.

Amona residents asked the protesters to avoid violence but to “ensure that the evacuation would be very hard,” Ha’aretz reported. Police told the Israeli media that they have been talking to the protesters in order to avoid violence.

The police began removing barriers covering the windows of the outpost homes and the synagogue in order to forcibly enter the buildings. Police were seen carrying out teenage protesters filling the homes – with four officers carrying out each protester.

At least seven families agreed to leave their homes voluntarily.

Police released a statement after entering the outpost.

“Israeli police are acting with restraint in order to allow those families of settlers who wish to evacuate. However, those who abuse this restraint and act violently toward police we be dealt with accordingly,” it said. “Israeli police have been attacked by anarchists who have thrown objects at them, causing injuries to the eyes of several police officers, who needed to receive medical treatment. Police will not allow this and will act accordingly.”

Israeli forces have begun evacuating a controversial settlement Amona, which is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts erected in the West Bank without permission but generally tolerated by the Israeli government. JINIPIX PHOTO
Israeli forces have begun evacuating a controversial settlement Amona, which is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts erected in the West Bank without permission but generally tolerated by the Israeli government. JINIPIX PHOTO

Many Amona parents sent their young children to the nearby Ofra settlement on Wednesday morning ahead of the arrival of the police and the start of the evacuation.

Several Israeli lawmakers arrived at the outpost on Wednesday morning, including Bezalel Smotrich, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Shuli Moallem of the Jewish Home party and Oren Hazan of the Likud party.

Smotrich compared the evacuation to a woman being raped.

“The evacuation won’t be violent because the people aren’t violent, but it will hurt just like when something terrible happens, it hurts,” he said. “When someone rapes a woman it hurts. What they’re doing here now is a brutal rape. They’re going to remove innocent people from their home.”

The comparison was condemned by opposition lawmakers.

Rabbi David Lau in a video released on social media called on the residents of Amona and Ofra and activists who have gathered there not to act violently against security forces during the evacuation.

“The evacuation of the community and the families living in it causes sorrow and great pain. However, it is obligatory to respect the law and not to behave violently toward any person, let alone against security forces who spend day and night protecting the people of Israel. And so it is up to each and every one to act only in accordance with halacha and the law,” Lau said, referring to both Jewish and civil law.

The evacuation is going forward despite the suspension of a plan to relocate many of the residents to an adjacent hilltop. The suspension was approved after Palestinians filed claims to that land.

The relocation was part of a deal reached between the residents and the government to ensure a peaceful evacuation. Under the agreement, 24 homes would be built on the new hilltop and 16 other families would be assisted in finding homes nearby.

In 2006, a confrontation between settlers and police forces attempting to evacuate them turned violent, leaving many injured. The February demolition was postponed from Dec. 25 to give the state time to provide new housing for the residents.

 

  • TerrorIsEvil

    Jews have every right to be in Judea-Samaria. It is land that was given by G-d. Jews have been there for approx.3500 years and in recent history that land was recognized as Jewish property. Jews were granted rights to closely settle their own land by international agreements and mandates. So why is the GOI making a scene by fighting with its staunchest and most passionate citizens? This is behavior that is unacceptable. Why are they trying to impress and appease antisemitic so-called “Palestinians” who are at war with Jews? Why are they playing into the hands of the shrink-and-destroy EU and UN elites? Obama is gone and its time the GOI stand strong for Jews.

    • Joe Q.

      I am a strong supporter of Israel, but I also feel it’s a mistake to give fodder to Israel’s enemies by making false statements.

      Israel certainly has the right to exist according to “international agreements and mandates” but those agreements never included the land that Amona sits on.

      Amona was built on privately owned land that was settled by squatters, who later used forged documents to assert ownership of the land themselves. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled over and over again that it is illegal. Establishing and tolerating illegal outposts like Amona makes Israel look like a lawless banana republic with no respect for property rights. Evacuating and dismantling it is the right thing to do.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        Tell that to the “Palestinians” who occupy Isreal. Tell that to the EU who builds dwellings and whole communities on Jewish Judea-Samaria for their Arab friends to inflame and exacerbate the situation.

      • TerrorIsEvil

        The fact that the “Palestinians” are at war with Israel bars them from any discussion until they stop. No country in the world has ever conceded land that is theirs to groups of terrorists still at war with them. Period.