Netiv Haavot: Israeli security forces evacuate 15 settler homes

Some 2,300 police officers took part in the evacuation. Five hundred activists were taken off the outpost in 15 buses. Twelve officers were lightly injured and six were treated in the hospital.

By
June 12, 2018 09:17

Settlers protest demolition of 15 homes in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost, June 12, 2018 (Marc Israel Sellem)

Settlers protest demolition of 15 homes in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost, June 12, 2018 (Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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The Bar-Lev family removed the mezuza from their doorway and walked arm-in-arm away from their Netiv Ha’avot home to the applause of their neighbors.

As the sun set on Tuesday, they were the last of 15 families to be forcibly evacuated from their homes on the outskirts of the Elazar settlement in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank.

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“A nation that is eternal does not fear a long road,” they sang. Dozens of activists who had prayed and stood with them in the house streamed behind them.


“I fought for Israel’s honor, not for myself,” home owner Gil Bar-Lev told the media, in a voice gone hoarse from talking.

The last stand for the Netiv Ha’avot homes took place in his yard, living room, large back porch and rooftop, with its large fluttering Israeli flag.

The last of the activists were carried out in the dark after the family had left.

Some 2,300 police and border police officer had entered the small outpost at 6:30 a.m. to execute a High Court of Justice order to demolish the homes.

They were met by close to a thousand activists in a number of key homes.

More than 500 people were forcibly removed from the hilltop during the day, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Twelve officers were lightly injured by stones and bottles, six of whom were sent to hospital for treatment and then released, Rosenfeld said.

Earlier in the day, the teens received strict orders from homeowners to engage only in passive resistance.

“If you have a burning desire to burn tires, don’t do it here,” one tall gray-haired man told them.

Girls and boys crowded into living rooms and bedrooms of many of the 15 homes.

In homes where it was too crowded to enter through the door, they climbed in the windows.

While they waited, they sang religious songs, such as: “We won’t abandoned this land.”

In some of the homes, supporters gave musical concerns with keyboards, guitars and violins to help ease the situation for the families.

Many of the families hung large signs on their homes protesting the demolition.

“Don’t use justice to create injustice,” stated the red, black and white sign on the two-story stone structure that belonged to the Yehezkeli family.

Before leaving his home, Matan Yehezkeli removed the mezuza from the door frame and locked the door. He stood outside with his family and promised that they would rebuild on the same lot.

By the afternoon the focus had shifted to the Bar-Lev home.

At one point, teens locked arms on the green lawn and sang the national anthem.

In a standoff that lasted for hours, officers evacuated teens from the home, one by one.

In many cases they carried them by their arms and legs. Some cried; others cursed.

“Why are you doing this to me?” asked one teen; another called out, “God is blessed.”

Officers offered the activists a chance to walk on their own, at times putting them down, offering them water and then continuing to carry them away.

Activists often chanted: “Officer, police, refuse your orders.”

One young man chanted that slogan as four policemen held him aloft by the arms and legs.

Other teens argued with officers on the lawn. “What will you tell your children about today – that you harmed Jews?” one curly-haired teen asked the officers.

She refused to be intimidated or pushed back when they asked her to leave.

“If you are strong enough to evacuate, you are certainly strong enough to hear what I have to say,” she said.

The demolition of the 15 homes is likely to take place on Wednesday.

The homes are part of the larger outpost which is in the process of receiving authorization to become a legal neighborhood of the settlement.

But these homes, originally thought to be on state land, cannot be authorized – and the High Court of Justice has ruled that they must be taken down. It did so in response to a petition from the Left-wing group Peace Now.

The government built modular homes for the 15 families on an authorized site, a short distance away from their outpost.

In the evening, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein held a mezuza ceremony there for the families.
 

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