WATCH: Settlers, police clash during evacuation of illegal structure in Beit El

According to reports, the police used pepper spray and other crowd-dispersal methods against the settlers.

July 28, 2015 07:05
2 minute read.

Border Police, settlers clash in Beit El

Border Police, settlers clash in Beit El


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At least 50 Jewish settlers were detained by Israeli security services before dawn on Tuesday after the Border Police forcibly evicted squatters who had barricaded themselves in a building slated for demolition in the West Bank settlement of Beit El.

It is unclear whether those detained will be booked for arrest.

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Border Police and settlers clashed after hundreds of youths refused to evacuate the so-called "Dreinof" structure that the High Court of Justice has ruled must be razed.

According to reports, the police used pepper spray and other crowd-dispersal methods against the settlers.

The security forces sought to take control of the building, which is illegally under construction, in order to facilitate the demolition which the High Court has ruled must be carried out by Thursday.

"In accordance with the High Court of Justice ruling and with the goal of preparing for the evacuation and demolition of the skeleton of the 'Dreinof' buildings in the community of Beit El, the decision was made to deploy a Border Police force in the complex earlier this morning," the army said in a statement.

"In order to prevent [settlers] from barricading themselves in the buildings and thus reduce the tension and violence in the area so as to enable the demolition to proceed as planned, a Border Police force was placed in the building," the army said.

"The security forces will act to preserve the rule of law in the complex and are ready to carry out the instructions of the civilian leadership," the army said.

In June the High Court ordered the demolition of 24 illegal units in two apartment buildings that are under construction in Beit El, located in the Binyamin region of the West Bank.

Since then, the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria issued all the necessary authorizations for the project, save for a building permit which the contractor must receive from the governing bodies of Beit El.

To halt final approval of the project, the NGO Yesh Din together with the Palestinian property owners and petitioned the court for such an injunction. They also asked the court to rescind the civil administration’s authorizations for the project, as well as the initial 1979 land seizure order that allowed the IDF to take the property from its Palestinian owners and include it within the boundaries of the Beit El settlement.

The civil administration’s “crazed” attempt to retroactively legalize the project shows the seriousness by which they view these proceedings and the degree to which they disregard Palestinian property rights, said attorney Shlomi Zachary, who represents both Yesh Din and the Palestinian property owners before the court.

Yesh Din has argued that, since the land in question was not used and a master plan was not developed for it until recently, it should be returned to the Palestinians.

The High Court of Justice has rejected prior attempts by Yesh Din to rescind the 1979 land seizure order, but it has twice ruled in favor of razing the two buildings because they were illegally constructed.

It ordered the two building demolished in September 2014 and again in June, when it rejected an appeal by the contractor who argued that the demolition was unnecessary because the project would likely be legalized.

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