Settlers: Evacuations traumatize children

Human rights organization calls on authorities to coordinate outpost evacuation to avoid causing children trauma.

February 1, 2012 17:10
1 minute read.
Migron settlement demolition [illustrative]

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

Representatives of settlers are calling on police and the IDF to exercise caution during evacuation of outposts to prevent psychological harm to children who live in structures designated for demolition.

Orit Struk, head of the Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria, called on authorities this week to coordinate future outpost evacuations, following the recent demolitions of three homes in the West Bank outpost of Migron.

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According to Struk, mothers from Migron are reporting bedwetting and regressive behavior in children, as well as panic responses to loud noises, accompanied by general introversion.

She accused police of acting like “thieves at night while passing on responsibility.”

The mothers have asked army and police officials to give them a few hours warning before evacuations, but say the army was unresponsive and police failed to live up to commitments to coordinate clearances.

MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi), who is chairman of the Knesset Committee for the Rights of the Child, submitted a complaint to the Police Investigations Department over the issue last week.

Responding to the allegations, Judea and Samaria police spokeswoman Nurit Tzemah said police act with the utmost sensitivity throughout evacuations.

“From the briefing before the evacuation and onward, we put an emphasis on sensitivity,” she said. “We’ve even brought in social welfare officials to come with us to evacuations.”

In the recent evacuation of Migron, Tzemah said, “it took some families over three hours to get ready. We didn’t order them out immediately. We understood, and spoke gently to them.” She said officers are asked to film each evacuation.

Tzemah noted that the IDF has “territorial sovereignty” in the West Bank, and that police execute military orders when it comes to evacuations.

The police spokeswoman said it was important to keep in mind “these structures were built illegally without construction permits. If they don’t leave of their own will, security forces have to evacuate them.”

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