Politicians from across the spectrum reacted Thursday to the evacuation of the illegal Amona outpost, using the morning’s violent events as a political soapbox.
Labor Party leader Avi Gabbay called “the violence of a handful of evacuees of the Amona outpost unbearable.”
He said the violence must be handled with determination and that the evacuation should be completed in accordance with the court’s ruling.
“This group of extremists – on the hilltops and in the Knesset – have grown accustomed to controlling the government and seeing [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government succumb to their demands,” he said. “Israel's citizens deserve a government that does not succumb to the violence of a handful of extremists.”
Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid Party, said the violence in Amona is because the rioters think they have political backing from within the coalition.
"There is no such thing as political backing for violence against the security forces, against the IDF and against the police,” he said. “Anyone who interferes with these forces must be evacuated and restrained without hesitation.”
Similarly, MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin, also a member of the Labor Party, accused the prime minister and other right-wing ministers of encouraging the attackers and then “they cluck and roll their eyes.”
She said these politicians make false promises rather than ensuring that “these fringe activists” are held responsible for the violence carried out by hilltop youth against security forces.
“Condemnation will not suffice in this case,” Nahmias-Verbin said.
Similarly, opposition leader and Labor MK Shelly Yachimovich, called the situation “very serious.” She called on Netanyahu and Minister of Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan to “decisively condemn” the violence.
On the right, former Shas leader Ely Yishai also attacked the prime minister. On Twitter, he wrote that the harsh images that were published of the evacuation demonstrate why the government needs “a real right-wing party that will block the evacuation of settlements in the Land of Israel.
“Khan al-Ahmar is not evacuated and Amana is?” he tweeted. “It is the prime minister's duty to immediately halt this illegal evacuation,” he wrote.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked also raised a question about the Khan al-Ahmar illegal village in the West Bank.
"We call on the Prime Minister to evacuate illegal Arab structures in Khan al-Ahmar today,” said the Hayemin HeHadash Party in a statement. "The selective enforcement against only Jews in Amona, in the face of the fear of evacuating illegal and unrestrained Arab construction in Khan al-Ahmar, portrays the Israeli government's weakness and hesitation vis-a-vis the Palestinians, and undermines the State of Israel’s deterrence.”
The dismantling of Khan al-Ahmar was indefinitely postponed at a Security Cabinet meeting in late October. According to a release disseminated by Hayemin HeHadash, Bennett and Shaked were the only ones who were opposed to the postponement.
"We call upon the prime minister to fulfill his promise today," they said.
The Amona outpost was first evacuated and cleared in 2017, based on a 2014 High Court of Justice ruling that said part of the land the community had been built on was owned by Palestinians.
The first time the hilltop was evacuated was also violent. It took thousands of police officers to clear out the 42 families and hundreds of protesters who had barricaded themselves inside the homes and a synagogue there and clashed with police.
Late last month, settlers one again moved to the hilltop, claiming the land was legally purchased from the original Palestinian landowners and in response to December's spate of attacks targeting Israelis at West Bank bus stops. Three people, including a four-day-old baby, were killed in those attacks.