IDF razes four West Bank outpost homes near Bat Ayin

Move come as settlers warn of large-scale demolitions in the near future; Gush Etzion official: Army should be protecting, not attacking Israelis.

October 31, 2011 10:37
2 minute read.
Migron settlement demolition [illustrative]

Migron Demolition 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The IDF destroyed four unauthorized homes that were in the final stages of construction at an outpost just outside of the Bat Ayin settlement in the West Bank early Monday morning.

The demolitions come as settlers and right-wing politicians have warned that the army intends to demolish hundreds of unauthorized West Bank settler homes.

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Minor scuffles took place between authorities and settlers but no injuries were reported and no arrests were made, Israel Radio reported.

Yair Wolf, the Deputy head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, said that at a time when the army should be focused on defending the country from rocket attacks, it should not be attacking its own citizens.

Two months ago three homes in the Migron settlement outpost were also demolished. That enforcement led dozens of politicians to vow to find a solution for settlements the High Court of Justice has ruled must be demolished.

Thirty-eight parliamentarians appealed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after the Migron demolition not to demolish settler homes located on private Palestinian property.

Right wing politicians fear that there are other demolitions pending, including at the Givat Assaf outpost and the Ulpana neighborhood of the Beit El settlement.

At a Likud ministerial committee meeting earlier this month, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat proposed the creation of a committee of independent, professional experts to examine alternative options that would avoid demolitions and allow for the authorization of such homes.

Netanyahu gave a nod in the direction of right-wing politicians, including many members of his party, when he agreed three weeks ago to create a committee to examine the legal status of settler homes on privately owned Palestinian land.

The High Court ruled that such homes and outposts must be removed by March 2012.

The international community has long expected Israel to remove some 100 illegally-built West Bank outposts, many of which were started by settlers who believed that they could eventually be legalized.

Under the 2002 road map, the government is expected to remove some 24 outposts constructed after former prime minister Ariel Sharon took office in March 2001.

Then prime minister Ehud Olmert spoke of removing the outposts. But since Netanyahu took office in 2009, there has been a shift in government policy. In repeated statements to the High Court the state has spoken of its intention to legalize those outposts built on state land.

But the government has insisted that those on private Palestinian property must be removed.

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