Israel evacuates West Bank outpost
Israeli forces uprooted a West Bank outpost on Wednesday, removing residents and hundreds of their supporters in sometimes violent clashes as they dismantled a community that has become a symbol of Jewish settler defiance.
The evacuation, which followed years of legal battles, came amid a flurry of bold new settlement moves by Israel’s government, which has been buoyed by the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Thousands of police officers carried out the removal, squaring off against hundreds of protesters, many of them young religious activists who flocked to the wind-swept hilltop to show their solidarity with residents.
Planting themselves inside trailer homes and the community’s synagogue, the protesters defied police, who carried some away. Protesters chained themselves to heavy objects or linked arms to form a wall against police, chanting “Jews don’t expel Jews!” Dozens of residents reluctantly left their homes without resistance, young children in tow.
“This is my home. I want to stay here. It is my right to stay here,” resident Tamar Nizri told Channel 2 TV news. “This is expulsion, destruction, an injustice and a crime. The most basic truth is that the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel,” including the West Bank, she said.
With some 250 residents, Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts erected in the West Bank without formal permission but generally with tacit support from the Israeli government. It was the scene of violent clashes between settlers and security forces during a partial demolition exactly 11 years ago, on Feb. 1, 2006.
Those homes were found to be built on private Palestinian land. Israel’s Supreme Court later ruled in 2014 that the entire outpost was built on private Palestinian land and must be demolished, setting Feb. 8 as the final deadline after repeated delays.
Israeli police evict settlers from the West Bank outpost of Amona, Wednesday. Israeli forces have begun evacuating the controversial settlement.