Confrontations between Israeli Police, Settlers in West Bank

Confrontations between Israeli Police, Settlers in West Bank

Thursday, 3 January, 2019 - 09:45
Israeli policemen inspect the scene of a car-ramming attack near Hebron, in the occupied West Bank November 26, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Asharq Al-Awsat
Scores were injured on Thursday after Israeli paramilitary police dragged dozens of Jewish settlers out of an illegal outpost in the occupied West Bank, a day after the Jerusalem District Court denied their petition against eviction.

Settlers had set up two caravans at the Amona outpost last month, in what they described as a protest against a recent surge in Palestinian attacks in the West Bank.

Two years ago, Amona's 300 settlers were removed by police after the Supreme Court determined it had been built illegally and without Israeli government authorization on privately-owned Palestinian land in 1995.

Police said that in Thursday's operation, 23 officers were lightly injured by stone-throwing settlers, many of them teenagers. Israeli media reports said six settlers had also been hurt.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the Israeli troops were enforcing the court-ordered evacuation of caravans, when they were pelted with rocks and stones from some of the 300 protesters in Amona. One officer was stabbed with a sharp object. Police dragged away several protesters with bleeding cuts.

Hard-line Cabinet Minister Naftali Bennett, who this week broke off from the pro-settler Jewish Home party to start a new right-wing movement, called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to also demolish the illegally built Palestinian encampment of Khan al-Ahmar.

"The law is the law is the law," he said. "The selective enforcement against only Jews in Amona, in the face of the fear of evacuating illegal and unrestrained Arab construction in Khan al-Ahmar, portrays the Israeli government's weakness and hesitation."

Most countries consider all Israeli settlements on land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war to be illegal. Israel disputes this, and last week Israeli authorities issued approvals for more than 2,000 settler homes in the West Bank.

Some 500,000 Israelis live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which was also captured by Israel in the 1967 conflict. The two areas are home to more than 2.6 million Palestinians.

While Israel’s settlement projects have regularly drawn condemnation from the Palestinians and in Europe, the US administration under President Donald Trump has taken a largely uncritical public stand.

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