Israeli Officers Hurt Evacuating Jewish Settlers From Unauthorized West Bank Outpost

The police began evacuating the 10 buildings in the unauthorized outpost of West Tapuah in the northern West Bank on Sunday morning because they are located on privately-owned Palestinian land. All the structures in the outpost are mobile homes, and only three were being lived in.

The evacuation comes after seven other mobile homes were moved from the site to nearby state-owned land inside the settlement of Tapuah with the agreement of the residents. Residents refused to allow the remaining structures now being evacuated to be moved. They are mostly used for agricultural purposes. The residents said four of the mobile homes are being lived in.

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The police arrested six settlers for allegedly attacking officers. Some 11 officers were wounded during the evacuation, police said, after bleach, sticks, eggs and other objects were thrown at them. Settlers claim that five youths were also hurt.

The evacuation was ordered by the High Court of Justice in response to a petition by nine Palestinians from the nearby town of Kafr Yasif. The entire outpost has never received legal building permits and has no approved master plan – and 17 of the buildings were located on privately-owned Palestinian land. These are the structures now being evacuated and which the High Court has ordered to be demolished.   

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The police said the families living in the three occupied units have agreed – after the police deployed in the outpost Saturday night – to pack up their belongings and leave on their own. But a few dozen extreme right-wing youths came to protest the evacuation, said police. So far, no one has been arrested and a few of the protestors were removed from the area during the night.

This evacuation comes less than a week after Israeli security forces completed evicting the residents from 15 homes in the unauthorized West Bank outpost of Netiv Ha’avot in Gush Etzion. The outpost is considered to be a neighborhood of the settlement of Elazar south of Jerusalem. All of the homes evacuated and demolished were permanent, stone houses partially built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

In this case too, the High Court of Justice ordered the homes evacuated and demolished. A few hundred young people protested the evacuation but the more extremist elements refused to come and protest because the residents requested to let the evacuation proceed relatively quietly.