Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has prioritized the demolition of illegal homes in West Bank Jewish communities whose members commit acts of violence against security forces, according to a senior security source.
Ya’alon first explained this new policy to settler leaders during a day-long IDF seminar in February. He repeated it in a meeting he held with them before Passover, according to Yigal Delmoni, deputy director of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
News of the new policy was relayed to settler leaders verbally but not in writing, Delmoni said. Army radio first reported on it on Wednesday, and a senior security source confirmed the matter for The Jerusalem Post.
The IDF executed this policy earlier this month after an army jeep was vandalized in the Yitzhar settlement. In response, the IDF razed four illegal structures there. During those demolitions, violent clashes broke out between settlers and the army. A group of 50 or 60 settlers then destroyed an army post in Yitzhar that housed reservist settlers, and in response to that, the IDF took over the settlement’s Od Yosef Hai yeshiva and has posted Border Police there.
Legal Forum for the Land of Israel director-general Nachi Eyal accused Ya’alon and the IDF of “collectively punishing” Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
“Would it occur to anyone to increase law enforcement in the city of Ra’anana in response to the murder that occurred there last week?” he asked.
The demolition of illegal structures should be based on law, he said.
“What is the connection between home owners and those who throw stones or slash tires?” he asked.
Separately on Wednesday morning, police searched the home of Yitzhar Rabbi Yosef Elitzur as part of an ongoing investigation.
An official with the LAHAV branch of the Israel Police said that the search of the house had been very specific, meant only to follow up on specific information about a case the police were probing. The official added that a computer had been confiscated during the search.
A spokesman for Od Yosef Hai condemned the search in the rabbi’s home as another “ridiculous police operation” meant to “intimidate and silence [the yeshiva’s staff], but it’s impossible to silence the Torah.”