Is­rael evac­u­ates West Bank out­post

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD -

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.

AP PHOTO

Is­raeli po­lice evict set­tlers from the West Bank out­post of Amona, Wed­nes­day. Is­raeli forces have be­gun evac­u­at­ing the con­tro­ver­sial set­tle­ment.

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