IDF bracing for violence in West Bank evacuations

Plan to evacuate 26 outposts could start only weeks after government gives green light.

September 3, 2007 00:32
1 minute read.
outpost evacuation scuffle 298

outpost evacuation 298. (photo credit: Jewish Community of Hebron [file])


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While the IDF predicts that the evacuation of 26 illegal West Bank outposts will be difficult and violent, the army is in the final stages of drawing up an operational plan that could be implemented within a matter of weeks after the government gives the green light, defense officials said Sunday. The list includes outposts established since 2001, when former prime minister Ariel Sharon promised the US that he would evacuate the sites. The list includes Avigail, Asael, Maon near Hebron, Pnei Adam in the Binyamin Region, Havat Gilad near Kedumim, Kida near Shevut Rachel, Ma'aleh Rehavam near Tekoa, and Migron, whose legal status is currently being determined by the High Court of Justice. "There will be extreme violence," said a high-ranking defense official involved in planning the evacuations. "Once the evacuation date is determined by the political echelon, we could begin the evacuations in a matter of weeks." Several thousand soldiers and policemen would be needed to evacuate each outpost, the official said, adding that the mission was "extremely complicated on a logistical and operational level." Even once Defense Minister Ehud Barak gives the evacuation order, the settlers would still have the opportunity to appeal to the High Court, a move that would delay the plan's implementation by a number of weeks in any case. Defense officials said that one of the reasons behind the sudden activity on the outpost issue was relentless American pressure on the government to begin taking steps to remove the illegal communities. According to officials, the Americans have been pressuring Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to evacuate the outposts since he took office last year. Sources in the Central Command said that plans were in place to begin evacuating as soon as the government issued the order. The plans are being drawn up by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav and will involve both Border Police and IDF troops. When the orders are given, the operation will be headed by the Central Command and the Judea and Samaria Police District. The IDF will be responsible for securing the perimeter of the targeted outposts in order to prevent right-wing reinforcements from reaching the area. The plan is to evacuate three to four outposts at a time and not to evacuate all 26 at once, officials said.

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