IDF forces removed the remaining settler activists from the Oz Zion outpost near Beit El in the early morning hours of Sunday morning, at the end of a weekend that started with clashes between teenage activists and Border Police that left five officers lightly injured.
Earlier Saturday night, several hundred religious male high school pupils voluntarily left the outpost in a deal reached with the IDF that
prevented a potentially violent forced evacuation on Friday afternoon, right
The teenagers, who had come to the outpost for Shabbat as
part of an event organized by Kiryat Arba Rabbi Dov Lior, Safed Chief Rabbi
Shmuel Eliahu and former Kedumim council head Daniella Weiss, had all the while
planned to leave Oz Zion, which is adjacent to Beit El, on Saturday
It is home to a family and a few young adults, who plan to live at
the outpost permanently.
Violence broke out briefly on Friday afternoon
when the Border Police arrived at the outpost. Five officers were lightly
wounded and treated at the scene, when the youngsters threw rocks at them, Judea
and Samaria Police spokesman Ch.-Insp. Dudi Ashraf said. They also
punctured the tires of a Border Police vehicle, Ashraf said.
chairwoman of the party bearing her name, immediately used the incident to
attack Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali
“Bennett and extremist rabbis intentionally led people to that
hill to create friction with IDF soldiers and a situation of refusal to obey
orders,” she said at an event in Kiryat Motzkin, near Haifa.
brought people there on the eve of Shabbat, knowing that our children in the
army would have to evacuate them,” she said. “Netanyahu, who continues to wink
at the extreme Right and his natural partners, stopped the
From his perspective, everything can be defiled, just not
As soon as Shabbat was over, Bennett posted a response on his
“What hill? What rabbis? Whom exactly did I lead? What the
hell is she talking about?!” he said.
Bennett said he had enjoyed a quiet
and restful Shabbat at home and heard of the incident only after making the
Havdalah prayer and then turning on the news.
He said it was becoming standard fare to attack him on Friday night and Saturday when he could not
respond because he observes the Sabbath.
“Over Shabbat, they put words
into my mouth that I never said (‘Bennett calls to refuse orders’), things I
didn’t do (‘Bennett leads people to a hill’), they attack me (‘Bennett is an
extremist, etc.’). They do all of this during Shabbat, when I don’t even hear
about the news, and I certainly can’t respond,” Bennett wrote.
ever happens to be an illegal outpost that needs to be removed, one can do this
on a weekday and not on Shabbat,” he continued.
“Really, a little common
sense won’t hurt anyone.”
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich said on
Saturday that while the decision by settlers to leave the Oz Zion outpost
without a struggle was the right thing to do, it did not erase Friday’s attacks
on Border Police officers.
“Justice must be pursued against the
lawbreakers. This was a grave undermining of the rule of law, and a challenge to
the state, its laws and the IDF, whose strength is necessary to our existence
here,” Yacimovich said. “We see here a clear and dangerous expression of the
legitimization of refusal to carry out orders and of selective adherence to the
rule of law.”
Oz Zion is located just off Route 60 and next to the Givat
Both outposts are near the Beit El settlement in the
According to Ashraf, border police received a call from
the army shortly after the high school boys arrived at the outpost on
The IDF told the Border Police that a large group of youths meant
to stay in the outpost over the weekend without army approval, and that
reinforcements were needed to help remove them from the area, Ashraf
When YASSAM special patrol officers and border police arrived, the
youths began throwing rocks at them and punctured the tires of a Border Police
One person was arrested during the clashes – a minor who threw rocks
at a YASSAM officer, Ashraf said. The boy was to be brought to court for a
remand hearing on Saturday night, he added.
The IDF secured the perimeter
during the incident.
Immediately, telephone calls flew back and forth
among the IDF and Binyamin Council head Avi Ro’eh, Lior and Likud MK Ze’ev
Ellkin, who heads the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense subcommittee on Judea
and Samaria. It has been dealing with the issue of forced evacuation on the
As a result of the phone calls, a deal was reached by which the
teens could remain, but they were asked to sleep at the Givat Assaf
As the teens voluntarily left Oz Zion on Saturday evening,
Ashraf said that as far as the Judea and Samaria District Police were concerned,
things were back to normal in the area.
Yaakov Lapin, Jeremy Sharon, Gil
Hoffman and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.