(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The security forces are planning on dealing with violent opposition by residents of the West Bank settlement of Amona, who are set to be evacuated from the illegal settlement by December 25.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman in mid-November called on the evacuees not to “get into confrontations with IDF soldiers,” a statement echoed by Judea and Samaria police commander and Deputy Commissioner Moshe Barkat, who asked Amona residents to refrain from violence during the evacuation.
While the IDF has been tasked with carrying out the evacuation, the Border Police will ultimately do the grunt work, with some 3,000 police and Border Police officers set to remove the 40 remaining families from their homes. The army has declared Amona a “closed military zone,” forbidding entry and shutting down all roads to the settlement.
On Monday evening, some 100 rabbis from across the political spectrum called on people to join Amona residents to non-violently oppose the eviction.
“We call on anyone who can come and stay in the settlement at this time,” the rabbis’ petition said, calling on the government to “prevent this criminal and unnecessary destruction.”
“Staying in this place will give strength to the beloved residents, and will say clearly to all decision makers that we are now with the residents of Amona at this time of their distress for everything, and we will continue with them until an arrangement will be legislated and Amona will be redeemed,” they said. “We call on the wider community to continue to stay in the settlement and to protest vigorously against the destruction of the settlement through passive resistance, without violence.”
According to Channel 2 news, the police has been training for all scenarios they may face in the upcoming evacuation, including the possibility of violence by settlers.
Violence by Amona settlers is not something new, as in February 2006 close to 10,000 soldiers, police and border officers clashed with an estimated 4,000 people as they came to demolish nine buildings, leaving over 220 people injured, 140 of them civilians. Those clashes in Amona became a symbol to many settlers.
Amona resident Tamar Nizri told Army Radio earlier in November that the 40 families who remain in the settlement “will do everything in our power to remain here. I personally will not raise a hand, but I am not responsible for the mass of people we are telling to prepare for the order day. If the soldiers come I want there to be such painful pictures that it will not happen again. That Jews never again be forced off their land. Hitler’s soldiers also received orders. So what?” she added.
In July 2015, the IDF clashed with settlers in the West Bank settlement of Beit El as they came to demolish the “Dreinoff buildings,” two illegally constructed apartment buildings which stood empty. Similar to the 2006 Amona evictions, the settlers burned tires, threw rocks at policemen, and attempted to barricade themselves inside the buildings.
In 2005 the IDF carried out the mass evacuation of Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, forcibly removing some 8,600 residents from 17 settlements.
More than 1,900 homes, 400 farms, 88 educational facilities (including daycare centers, kindergartens, and high schools), and 38 synagogues were later destroyed by the army.